We are delighted to have awarded a grant of £2,500 to Limpsfield Grange School for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh at Thames Barge Voyage project, which was undertaken by 8 schoolgirls between ages 16-18, who all struggle with a learning disability, medical condition or mental health illness.
The girls who participated had never sailed before and had no idea of what to expect. This sailing trip fulfilled the girls’ expedition section within the Duke of Edinburgh Gold criteria.
Two of the girls who took part in the voyage were a pair of twins who had never been on a boat before and were extremely nervous and anxious. Their conditions make them hypersensitive to virtually everything and to undertake something like this was going to be a huge challenge for them. Bearing in mind they are both 17 years old, they are very young for their age and were very apprehensive. Over the course of the week they grew in confidence and by the end of the week they were doing everything the other girls were doing and more. When we handed them back to their parents they both said it was the best thing they had ever done and asked when they could go again. Hopefully this experience has instilled them with the ‘can do’ attitude that will stand them in good stead throughout their lives.
– Limpsfield Grange School
The Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award is regarded as equivalent to an A-level by employers and will help participants in their journey towards finding a job. The award indicates many achievements, such as; reliability, commitment, responsibility, confidence and team work – some skills which can be challenging for people with autism and other learning disabilities. Over the course of the year that is will take for the girls to complete their awards, they will understand how to work together, support one another and commit to the project.
It is expected that the girls have now successfully completed the other sections within their Duke of Edinburgh Award and have collected their awards by the Duke himself at St James’ Palace earlier this year.