The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (commonly abbreviated DofE) is a youth awards’ programme founded in 1956 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, of blessed memory, that has since expanded to 144 nations. The awards recognise adolescents and young adults for completing a series of self-improvement exercises and is an incredible legacy that the Duke has left behind.
Over 6 million young people in the UK have taken part in the DofE since 1956 (8 million worldwide).
The participant needs to take part in a physical activity, a skill, an expedition and a period of volunteering.
GIFTs volunteer coordinator Keren Heller explains, “For many years now, GIFT have been offering a plethora of DofE volunteering opportunities for bronze, silver and gold, and during lockdown has been no different; interestingly lockdown saw many of our university students completing their Gold DofE Awards.”
GIFT’s remote opportunities are:-
-Baking for the homeless, GIFT volunteers take the baked goods to the organisation Rhythms Of Dee Life each week to distribute to the homeless.
-Making cards and motivational posters for Jewish Care residents;
– Becoming an email penpal with a Kisharon student.
In-person opportunities include – Food support packing sessions each week after school at the GIFT Hub in North West London (limited numbers).
– Helping Hand.. volunteer to help children once a week in your local area to give respite to the parents.
14 year old Monty Savarino from Halliford School in Shepperton, Surrey heard about GIFT from his Richmond Synagogue. Monty has been making up homeless bags each week, bringing them to the GIFT Warehouse. He told us
“When I was given the opportunity to do some volunteering I didn’t really know what it was all about until the day I started doing it.
When I go into London all I see are homeless people and I always ask myself why? Maybe it’s because their family just gave up on them or they lived a difficult life and didn’t have anyone to rely on. Who knows why but I can assure you that seeing them got me thinking quite a bit. Whatever the reason, they certainly don’t deserve to live the way they do. They don’t deserve to live on the streets of London begging to actually get some money. So I thought hard about it and asked myself what could I do to help them out. Well, I like cooking and so I realized that baking cookies or cakes would be a good solution. I now regularly give food to GIFT to pass on to the homeless and I am happy to say that I am proud of myself because helping the less fortunate can help me understand life a little bit better and make a difference.”
To sign up for your DofE project through GIFT, email Keren at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0208 457 4429