HRH The Earl of Wessex visited Hovertravel, the world’s only passenger hovercraft service, to see first-hand the difference The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) makes to young people and communities on the Isle of Wight.
The charity is celebrating its diamond anniversary this year, having helped to transform the lives of millions of young people in the UK and across the globe since it was founded in 1956.
Using the board room at Hovertravel, HRH The Earl of Wessex met Head Teachers from IOW and Portsmouth schools to discuss key issues around using DofE to support young people accessing local activities or initiatives, tackling isolation issues and high levels of deprivation.
Undertaking a DofE Award gives 14 to 24 year olds a unique opportunity to grow as young adults, gaining valuable life experience while developing essential employability skills. Setting their own challenges and learning practical skills helps to prepare each individual for the world of work.
“We are strong supporters of the DofE for the local community and we welcome visits from young people as they complete their challenges,” explained Neil Chapman, Managing Director of Hovertravel.
“Hosting the Charity during their diamond anniversary year is a special privilege for us and we want the visit to raise awareness of its good work across the Island.”
As a Trustee and a Gold Award holder, HRH The Earl of Wessex has championed the DofE for many years. As part of the Diamond Anniversary, The Earl of Wessex is travelling around the UK to help celebrate the hard work of DofE Volunteers and the successes of DofE participants.
Peter Westgarth, Regional Director and CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, added: “As we celebrate 60 years of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, it’s clear that the charity is an integral part of life on the Isle of Wight and has played an invaluable role in the development of hundreds of young people in the community. It’s fantastic to see the Island being recognised for the outstanding work it does and enormous thanks must be given to the volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure that every DofE participant makes the most of this wonderful opportunity.”
HRH The Earl of Wessex pictured here with some Duke of Edinburgh participants in front of Hovertravel’s new craft, Solent Flyer.