VICTA worked with the team at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in 2018 and 2019 to develop and deliver both a Bronze and Silver 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 personal statements, CVs and job applications.
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, problem solving 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.
Given the achievements of the programme, we now host regular expeditions for the Bronze Award. We are always looking for groups of blind or partially sighted young people aged 14 to 17.
We also deliver a Silver Award programme, for those students who have completed their Bronze award. This is suited to students aged 15 to 18.
What will it involve?
The Bronze and Silver programmes are achieved by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections normally over a period of around 12 months. These sections are Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition.
Bronze 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.
Silver participants must do a minimum of six months activity on the Volunteering and a minimum of three months for the Skills and Physical sections, (selecting an additional three months for either the Skills or Physical sections) and plan, train for and do a three-day (two nights) Expedition.
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.
For the Bronze Award, you will be out for two expeditions, both of which are two days and one night in length, both of which will be camping.
For the Silver Award, you will again do two expeditions, but they will be three days and two nights of camping.
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 DofE website 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 either of our Bronze or Silver DofE Award programmes, please apply via the links below.
Key dates for 2020
- Preparation and Training Weekend: Caldecotte Xperience, Milton Keynes (All Groups) 3 to 5 April 2020
- Practice Expedition: Drop off at the Caldecotte Xperience, Milton Keynes (All Groups) 10 to 12 July 2020
- Assessment Expedition: Surrey Hills AONB (Southern Groups) or Peak District (Northern Groups) 7 to 9 August 2020