The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award appoints three new Trustees to help reach one million young people by 2026
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has today announced the appointment of three new Trustees to support its aim of reaching a million young people across the UK, particularly those who are from marginalised backgrounds.
Anna Rose Barker, Mo Isap and Ofei Kwafo-Akoto join the DofE’s Board at a record-breaking time, with 321,622 young people starting their DofE in 2021/2022 – the highest in the charity’s 66-year history – and almost half a million currently doing their DofE.
Anna, Mo and Ofei will oversee the delivery of the DofE’s five-year Youth Without Limits strategy – launched in 2021 – which aims to widen access to the DofE by removing barriers to participation for young people facing marginalisation, such as those with additional needs and those experiencing poverty.
Anna Rose Barker brings a wealth of experience from previous professional and volunteer roles, including Chair of the British Youth Council, working to improve outcomes of young people at The Prince’s Trust and as a mentor to young people from economically disadvantaged communities through ReachOut. Anna is a Gold DofE Award holder and was awarded an MBE for services to young people in January 2020.
Anna said: “The values and mission of the DofE charity embody a vision I share – that we should ensure all young people believe in their own potential, regardless of their background or the start they’ve had in life. I have lived this mobility myself, as a young carer in a low-income household in rural Dorset – navigating myself through education and the world of work.”
Mo Isap is the founder and CEO of IN4 Group, one of the UK’s leading innovation and technology hub operators. He is Founding Director, Trustee and Vice Chair of Star Academies, a leading Multi Academy and Free Schools Trust, operating over 30 schools across the country, and a Board Director of The Career & Enterprise Company. Previously, Mo was Co-chair of the Greater Manchester LEP (Local Enterprises Partnership).
Mo said: “By nurturing young people from the grassroots up with life-changing programmes like those from the DofE, we are empowering them with the skills they need to thrive and the confidence to create new opportunities. I’m proud to join the DofE Board of Trustees as the charity champions a cause close to my heart, breaking down the barriers to participation for all young people, so those from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds have fair access to skills and careers. It’s exciting to work on our future strategy, which is focused on breaking even more barriers, so more young people can benefit from the DofE Award.”
Ofei Kwafo-Akoto is Head of Legal at GLP Europe, a leading real estate fund manager. Ofei was previously a trustee and company secretary at the Southside Young Leaders Academy, a charity that positively impacts the lives of black and minority ethnic boys at risk of exclusion from school by equipping them with leadership skills, improving their educational attainment and providing them with new career opportunities. Ofei is also a non-executive director at Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, one of the UK’s largest housing associations. Ofei was named in-house Lawyer of the Year at the 2021 UK Diversity Legal Awards.
Ofei said: “The DofE’s strategic goals of Access and Relevance resonate with me – this is a chance to continue The Duke of Edinburgh’s legacy by expanding the reach of DofE programmes to more young people and, in particular, to those who are the most marginalised in our society. In this sense, I truly believe that the work of the DofE has never been more vital nor more relevant.”
Tanni, Baroness Grey-Thompson, Chair of the DofE’s Board of Trustees, said: “I’m delighted that Anna, Mo and Ofei are coming on board to help the DofE achieve its ambitious aims over coming years. The wide range of skills, perspectives and experiences they bring will be invaluable as we work together to give all young people the chance to do their DofE.
“As young people navigate the aftershocks of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, the DofE is needed more than ever. We know that many of the most marginalised young people across the UK face barriers to accessing extra-curricular activities, and we’re committed to working towards a future where all young people can thrive and excel through opportunities like the DofE, which give them vital skills, resilience and lifelong self-belief.”
Alongside Baroness Grey-Thompson, Anna, Ofei and Mo will join HRH The Earl of Wessex, Mel Ewell, Julian Hough, Patricia Tehan, Lord Malcolm Offord and Jenny Morgan on the DofE Board of Trustees.