Young people from across East Sussex have set the gold standard after receiving the highest possible accolade under a youth achievement scheme.
The accomplishments of the county’s 44 recipients of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) Gold award were recognised through a presentation event held at Herstmonceux Castle.
The DofE programme, which is administered locally by East Sussex County Council, supports the personal development of young people through volunteering, skills, expeditions and physical accomplishments.
The evening included presentations by gold award holders Dan Miller, from Heathfield, who spoke about his expedition to the Lake District, and Eleanor Watson, from Uckfield, who played a piece on her violin, a skill which formed part of her Gold award.
Cllr Nick Bennett, county council lead member for learning and school effectiveness, said: “I’ve always believed that the best way for young people to advance in life is not just through academic excellence but through developing broad life skills.
“Completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award enables participants to develop new talents, meet new people and give something back to the community.
“By achieving the gold award, these young people have demonstrated commitment, dedication and resourcefulness – skills which can be put to use in whichever field they go into in the future.
“I’d like to commend all the Gold achievers and the volunteers and staff across the county who give up their time, energy and enthusiasm to deliver the DofE programme in East Sussex.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s scheme is open to all young people aged 14 to 24, who must show persistence, commitment and personal development to receive an award at one of three progressive levels - bronze, silver and gold.
All levels of the award include sections on volunteering, skills, physical activity and expeditions, while the gold award includes a residential element where young people stay away from home and undertake a shared activity with other people.
The county council runs at a network of DofE centres across the county, including schools, youth centres and voluntary organisations.