Duke of Edinburgh



The Open Award Centre at Queen's Rd has been the centre that Blue Coat students have used to access the award over the last 16 years (I was in the first cohort of year 10's to go!). I now help lead the project and we have 50 volunteers who support young people to achieve their Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. 

We have capacity to take around 70 participants at Bronze (Year 10), 50 at Silver (Year 11). Young people can enter Silver directly but then do an additional few months on a section to compensate. 

We are overseen by the City Council outdoor education service (Sarah Ramsey). 

On a Friday evening from around 7pm the youth group style café is open, from 8-9pm we run an activity and then from 9-9:30pm either team building activities or the café again. 

September to December - Skill 

Young people choose a skill from those on offer. We have run things like cooking, snooker/pool/darts, cycle maintenance, art, card making, boxed/board games, interview skills, politics etc. 

January to July - Expedition 

Training in camp craft, first aid, camp cooking, navigation, risk management and generally what they'll need to know to undertake a 2-3 day walking/cycling trip being self sufficient. (We adapt and remotely supervise at all times). 

The groups will plan their walk or cycle and then complete a practice and assessed expedition, camping somewhere like the Cotswolds, Peak District etc. 

We can provide all specialist equipment (except bikes) - tents, boots, waterproofs, rucksacks etc.

Other sections - Physical and Volunteering

We support and guide young people in finding activities suitable for this. 

It is an hour a week for the required number of months and signed off by someone who is not a relative. 

I am able to adapt expeditions to suit the needs of the young people attending and we have had young people with additional needs, difficulties with anxiety or disability access the group. 

If needed I can use our young leaders scheme to provide a "buddy" at DofE for those who might benefit from this too. 

It can get noisy and busy on a Friday evening, so if young people wanted to come and visit the building over the summer holidays, this is something I can work out too. 

Cost wise, we need to register young people with DofE nationally and with the City Council (none of this money comes to QRBC) - This year it will be £40 for Bronze or Silver. 

Each week young people pay a £2 subs that goes towards hire of equipment, the campsites, minibuses etc. 

The expeditions do also have an additional cost of approx. £40 (Bronze practice & assessed), £50 (Silver practice), £60 (silver final). However, like everything, if there is a difficulty with this we will do whatever we can to make the award accessible. I apply for grants and funding throughout the year to help with this. 

We are entirely non profit making and all money goes back to the running of the group as none of the leaders are paid anything at all. 

  1. Introduction to the DofE for Young People