Today, The Duke of Edinburgh carried out his first public solo engagements since was given his late father’s title.
In the West Midlands, Prince Edward’s engagements took a focus around The Duke of Edinburgh Award, of which he is now Patron, as announced by the organisation earlier today.
First, the Duke met DofE participants at Stonebridge City Farm in Nottingham.
Edward was joined by pupils from five schools at the farm as they carried out activities as part of their volunteering section. Activities included gardening, developing a sensory garden, and caring for animals.
Jack Harris is the Senior Operations Manager for the Duke of Edinburgh Award and knows what the Award is like to undertake, as he had previously completed it.
Speaking about the importance of the awards, Jack said: ‘Post pandemic, the awards have become more relevant, getting young people engaged in activities and for young people to give back through the DoFE is important. I know where doing the awards can take you, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for the programme.
‘It’s great for us to see young people engaged in the programme and we’re looking to create opportunities through volunteering with different organisations.’
Then, The Duke of Edinburgh visited Balfour Beatty‘s Raynesway facility – an international infrastructure group that finances, develops, builds and maintains innovative and efficient infrastructure that is used in everyday life.
He heard first hand from participants about their skills section of the Award. Participants gave a presentation and research project about one of the organisation’s projects. He also met Spot the Dog, the site’s robotic surveyor.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award was founded in 1956 as a way to help develop young people’s skills, such as leadership and resilience. Today the award helps those 14-24 and includes an expedition at the Gold level, to demonstrate all the necessary attributes required to pass.
Prince Edward has been involved with his father’s organisation for a number of years, travelling across the globe to see how young people are being helped by the tasks, be that into employment or education, or in life more generally.
The King’s brother also heard from Award holders about the impact the Award has had on their lives and careers. The Award was created to challenge young people to attain standards of achievement and endeavour in a wide variety of active interests – to serve their communities, experience adventure and to develop and learn outside the classroom.
Ruth Marvel, CEO of the DofE Award, said: ‘It was brilliant to meet so many amazing young people in Derby and Nottingham today, and hear them tell The Duke so powerfully about the skills, resilience and self-belief they’re building through their DofE – as well as the real difference they’re making in their communities.
‘From the students helping out at a city farm or discovering new talents and passions at Portland College – right through to the young employees at Balfour Beatty gaining vital leadership skills in the workplace – this visit shows just how big an impact opportunities like the DofE can have on young people’s futures.’
The visit comes the day after the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, attended by Edward and The Duchess of Edinburgh, alongside other Royals.