Four students from the mixed-ability Barrow college have been presented with Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards by the Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria.
A group of seven students from Beaumont College, located within Barrow Sixth Form College, have been working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Awards. Four have now completed the awards, and a further three have been presented with sectional awards by Mrs Claire Hensman, Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria.
Students Chloe, James, Liam and Nathan all completed their Silver Awards, while Aaron, Adam and Darren received certificates for completing sections involving developing new skills, improving their physical participation and volunteering within their local community and are expected to complete the award in the new academic year.
The students, who have a range of complex needs including physical disability, cerebral palsy and autism, undertook an independent trek through the Langdale Valley earlier this year. As part of their training, the students learnt map reading skills and camp cookery – preparing camping favourites like instant mashed potato with baked beans. The team worked together, especially in helping their teammate James, navigate the rough terrain in his three-wheeled chair.
Chloe, a Barrow student and participant in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, said: “I found it hard carrying my rucksack on Expedition but I really enjoyed it. I was able to cook for myself and my team, it was fun.”
Mrs Claire Hensman, Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria, said: “What you have achieved is fantastic and taking this forward if you apply for a training course or a job, they will look at the commitment and grit it took to achieve your Silver Award and see your value and capability. Very well done to you all.”
Rachel Diss, Occupational Therapist at Beaumont College, added: “It has been inspiring to watch our students progress as they have taken on each and every challenge. It has made a huge difference to them – they are more socially interactive and self-reliant than ever before.
“We’re already planning the Gold award next year!”
Beaumont College of Further Education, provides a person-centred curriculum to young people with physical and learning disabilities, ages 19 to 25. Its Duke of Edinburgh programme is among the first for students with this level of complex needs. It has presented its approach to the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, to inform other organisations about its use of the award to progress students’ independent skills.