Freemasons in England & Wales have become a strategic partner of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), funding a new national programme to upskill its team and volunteers with a grant of £300,000. The programme will also help enrol more schools and clubs, to ensure all young people have access to DofE.
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), the Freemasons’ charity, have teamed up to enable the charity to reach at least 30,000 young people nationally with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) by 2024. The ambition is to increase the number of centres offering DofE to young people with SEND and train hundreds of Leaders – trained individuals supporting groups of young people through their DofE journeys.
The programme has been designed to make DofE participation possible for students with diverse difficulties and disabilities. It will help the students to build crucial personal life skills, develop employability skills and become more independent, and aims to offer students the same experiences available to their peers in mainstream education.
The impact of achieving a DofE Award is remarkable and will be life-changing for young people with physical or learning difficulties, who are often excluded from adventurous activities due to a lack of accessible equipment, facilities, trained support staff and funding.
The Duke of Edinburgh, who founded the DofE in 1956, was himself a Freemason.