VICTA are currently working with the team at the Duke of Edinburgh Award to develop an adapted DofE Award programme for young people who are visually impaired.
Founded by The Duke of Edinburgh in 1956, the award has built an admirable reputation not just for developing life skills but among colleges, universities and employers who recognise it as a mark of excellence on their applicants CVs.
It is awarded as recognition of a young person’s successful journey of self-discovery and development. Its balanced programme develops the whole person – mind, body and soul, in an environment of social interaction and team working.
Universities and employers look for key attributes such as leadership, team work, self-motivation, communication, confidence and the ability to learn. DofE is a great way to achieve a lot of these in one go.
Is this something for you?
In the first instance, we are looking for a group of blind or partially sighted students aged between 14 to 17 to join a pilot Bronze DofE Award programme starting in August 2017.
What will it involve?
The award is achieved by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections over a period of no less than a year. These sections are Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition.
Participants must do a minimum of three months activity for each of the Volunteering, Skills and Physical sections, and plan, train for and do a two-day (one night) Expedition.
Volunteering includes an activity that gives back to the community. The skills element is based on learning something; usually something new however you can also continue a skill you are already learning. Finally the Physical activity can be any sport.
You also have to spend an extra three months on one of the Volunteering, Skills or Physical sections. It’s your choice which one and, though you can change your mind later, you should decide which section you want to do for longer at the beginning.
If you are enrolled on the programme, you will be expected to show a regular commitment to the Award, usually at least one hour per week. This means they can be fitted in around your academic study, hobbies and social life.
The best bit. The expedition
While the most challenging element, the expedition is also the most rewarding and is designed to develop initiative and leadership. You will need to come together with the other participants to plan, train for and complete an adventurous camping trip somewhere in the UK.
How it works
It’s a totally personal programme – designed for you, by you. You get to do things that you’re interested in and that you think are worthwhile. You might be doing things that already count towards DofE or you might do something completely new. Either way, you’re guaranteed to meet some great people, help others, develop your own skills in a whole range of ways and have fun.
Whatever you choose to do, you will need to evidence your activity by keeping a diary, using photographs, receiving certificates and uploading to the DofEwebsite using eDofE.
You will need to find an Assessor to sign off each DofE section. The Assessor can be anyone who knows about or organises the activity you have chosen. It might be the gym or sports instructor, art teacher, club or volunteering event organiser and so on. It cannot be a family member.
Most importantly, we will bring all participants together to discuss and plan the expedition. We will support the practice and the qualifying expedition, ensuring both are delivered safely within appropriate boundaries and supervision.
How we help
If you need us to, we can supply ideas and help you decide what works best for you. While your activity choices need to be exciting they must also be realistic for your budget, transport and local facilities. More significantly, they must sit within the DofE standard.
We will remind you about gathering your evidence, including a prompt to ensure you get your Assessor to write a final report as proof of you completing your activity allowing you to complete that section.
If you are interested in joining our pilot Bronze DofE Award programme, please register your interest via the form at the bottom of this page.
If successful, you will need to complete an enrolment form and pay a small DofE participation fee, £20. We will then send you a DofE Welcome Pack full of lots of helpful information and your own online DofE account where you can log in and record your progress through this programme.
The cost of the expedition is estimated at £150 per person but VICTA will subsidise the final cost by 50%. This means the likely cost to you will be around £75 but no more than £80.