This year 85 young people in West Sussex completed their DofE Gold Awards and were presented with their certificates by the county’s high sheriff Mark Spofforth at a special ceremony on Sunday July 3 at the Hilton Avisford Park Hotel in Arundel.
The scheme sees participants volunteer for a year, take on physical and skills-based activities, and tackle both a four-day expedition and shared activity in a residential setting.
This year’s recipients of the gold awards included a 19-year-old with learning difficulties who is the first ever student from Worthing’s Oak Grove College to achieve all three DoE awards - bronze, silver and gold.
Charlotte Hatcher, who lives in Shoreham, said: “I feel really happy and proud of my achievement. I got really homesick but persevered and got through.
“With the confidence I built, I will work with other young people with special educational needs and disabilities to understand how they can get involved and benefit from DofE.”
Hannah Cordrey, 23, from Worthing, said: “It’s a challenge mentally and physically, but you come out a stronger and better person. I had a hip problem and was advised against the expedition, but overcame this and pulled it together to complete the whole award.”
Supported by the Young People’s Service, 58 centres are delivering DofE in West Sussex to 9,571 participants.
These are from schools, colleges, special schools, open award centres and independent organisations.
This year’s awards ceremony was hosted by Patrick Burgess, deputy lieutenant and chairman of the West Sussex DofE County Committee.
He said: “It’s been buzzing with inspiration and people inspiring each other.”
During the event Pat Arculus, West Sussex County Council’s chairman, expressed how important it is for all young people to have access to DofE.
She said: “Each time you undertake a personal challenge, you grow a little more and gain more valuable life experience.
“Forget the ‘careers ladder’ as we are more in a time of ‘careers snakes and ladders’. However, the DofE gives you a new and better ladder, to move on to a good career.”
To find out more about taking part in West Sussex email [email protected], or contact a school, college, youth group or one of the five open centres in the county.
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