Torrington volunteers at London award ceremony

A group of young Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteers from Torrington have attended a glittering London ceremony after being shortlisted for a prestigious national award. The Great Torrington Open Duke of Edinburgh award group, in partnership with Devon Cou

A group of young Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteers from Torrington have attended a glittering London ceremony after being shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

The Great Torrington Open Duke of Edinburgh award group, in partnership with Devon County Council's Youth Service, was among seven shortlisted for the Volunteering and Participation section of the award, hosted by Children and Young People Now Magazine in association with the Children's Workforce Development Council.

Laura Bennett, one of the young people from the group who attended the event, said: "Unfortunately we didn't win this year's award, but just to be nominated and shortlisted was a great honour and achievement for all. Keep up the hard work people and thank you for everyone who supported our group."

They evolved from a struggling small group working with Gold Achievers in 2006, to now one of the strongest Open Award Groups in the South West, offering Silver and Gold Awards and Bronze to those with special needs who may not get a chance to access the programme through schools.


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In partnership with the county youth service the group runs a programme of training for keen Gold Award holders to stay on as young volunteer leaders.

Gold award holders are encouraged to participate in the group leadership on expeditions, as well as young people in the group talking on the roles of officers including chairman, treasurer and secretary.

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Young volunteer leaders are encouraged to remain in the group by having the opportunity for fun and challenge through entering 45 and 55-mile teams into the Ten Tors challenge on Dartmoor, and by supporting both training and participation in the Jubilee Challenge for those with special needs. This year the Torrington group had two Jubilee entries.

Other activities have included a Community Climbing Club, set up and run by two gold award holders who have qualified as climbing wall leaders. Volunteers have also sponsored, advised and encouraged participants to go on Tall Ships races and a few this year have been successfully selected for the Trans-Atlantic race.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People's Health and Wellbeing, said: "This is a fantastic group, who have achieved an incredible amount, and so it is a tribute to their work to be nominated for this prestigious award.

"Many congratulations to them for beating off some very stiff competition in reaching this stage, and I hope they will continue to grow from strength to strength.

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