Duke of Edinburgh Volunteering
Boys who enrol on the DofE Silver or Gold award have to volunteer for 6 and 12 months respectively as part of the award. They commit to spend an hour per week working at Abbeyfield. Kath Brown, Care Manager, supervises the boys’ visits and assesses their contribution over six or twelve months. It is hoped that those boys who opt to do this type of work in their Silver award will continue to work at Abbeyfield when they enrol onto their Gold award. In this way Abbeyfield benefit from the continuity and experience that the boys gain over a period of 18 months.
Mission Statement (Abbeyfield): To provide the best service of care and housing for all our residents, and to be a champion for older people.
Mission Statement (DofE): To inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and recognise their achievements. Volunteering Section: Volunteering is all about making a difference to other people's lives.
Newcastle School for Boys DofE Aim: To give boys on the Silver or Gold award an opportunity to complete their DofE volunteering section by working with local older people and makng a difference to their lives.
The boys benefit from working with local older people and the Abbeyfield residents benefit from having contact with caring younger people.
Kath Brown met Charles Drax in September 2013 when two NSB boys began their DofE Gold award. They discussed offering the boys the opportunity to make regular visits to the care home. In September 2014, two more boys who enroled onto the Silver award began to visit the care home. These two boys have recently opted to continue their voluntary work for their Gold award beginning this Autumn 2015.
The beauty about the project is that it is student led. The whole point of the DofE award scheme is to guide young people in their self-development without taking away their initiative. The boys had to discuss their visit programme and the purpose of their visit with Kath Brown. The DofE Manager at the school had very little input. There are no costs involved.
Kath Brown assesses the boys’ contribution and keeps Charles Drax informed. They review regularly and meet annually to discuss new boys to be involved or the extension of the service of current boy volunteers. The school had a lot of positive publicity in the local area when Abbeyfield’s PR consultant asked to photograph and interview one of the boys. This article was also published in the national DofE Magazine newsletter.
Boys on the Silver award are in Year 11, aged 15-16 years old. Boys on the Gold award have to be in Year 12 or 13, aged 17-18 years old.
Kath Brown is pleased with the link with NSB and has approved old volunteers to continue to work in 2015/2016. It is hoped that more boys on the DofE award will be given the same opportunity in the future.