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A VERY special ceremony has taken place in the city to present the first youngsters from the FetLor Youth Club with Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards following an ambitious programme of volunteering, wilderness activities and physical challenges.

Eighteen young people have graduated from the Award for the first time and their achievement was celebrated at a special event at the charity’s Crewe Road premises.

FetLor Youth Club provides space for over 400 young people in the north of Edinburgh to feel safe, empowered and listened to. It aims to create an environment in which young people with opportunities to build confidence.

It is hoped that, if funding can be secured, the DofE Award can now be extended to allow more children at the Club to take part. Some of the young people also have ambitions to secure a Silver Award.

Will Donaldson, the charity’s Duke of Edinburgh Awards manager, said: “We’re honoured and excited to be able to present our first graduates with these very special awards after what has been a year of hard work and dedication. On behalf of everyone at FetLor, I’d like to offer huge thanks to everyone who made this achievement possible through advice and investment.

“Part of the awards Award involves the young people developing confidence in the outdoors. To see them take on the challenges of building tents, learning first aid and navigation, as well as outdoor wilderness craft has been awe-inspiring.

“Fundraising is now underway to extend the programme to include more young people, and to ensure these graduates go on to receive their Silver awards.

“Through alternative learning such as the DofE Awards, we hope to address inequalities and increase the prospects of our young people, empowering them to make a positive difference to their own lives and that of their local community.

Volunteers at FetLor Youth Club are already seeking sponsorship for its annual Charity Cricket Challenge at Fettes College in June which will involve Cricket Scotland Internationalist George Munsey. Money raised from last year’s event provided funding for the FetLor children to take part in the DofE Awards for the first time.

A special Comedy Benefit Night involving comedians Ro Campbell, Gareth Mutch, Connor Burns, Julia Sutherland and Wis Jantarasorn will also take place at The Stand on 27 November.

Third-year Broughton High pupil Callum Symington is one of the young people who received a Bronze Award. Callum has recently gone on to become a volunteer at the FetLor Youth Club.

Callum, aged 14, said: “In the last year I have learned so many new things and taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme has given me opportunities that I would not have had. I really enjoyed taking part in an expedition to Bonaly where we took part in camping, hiking, and learned outdoor survival skills. I also enjoyed working as part of a team but also getting experience of being a leader – it was a good to feel like I knew what I was doing and could help others too.

“It’s given me the confidence to become a young volunteer at FetLor and I’m really proud to be able to say I’m giving something back by supporting others at the Club.”

Peter Moir, operations manager for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, attended the presentation, which took place on Friday (4 October). The organisation provided FetLor with Diamond Funding to pay for the licences the charity needed before its young people could participate in the Award.

He said: “To see the young people of FetLor participate in Duke of Edinburgh Awards and receive their Bronze certificates has been amazing and I’d like to offer my congratulations to those who had the vision and ambition to make this year such a success.

“To know these young people have had what has been an essentially life changing experience is amazing. Young people need determination and resilience to be successful in life and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards offers them a framework to develop those characteristics.”

To find out more about FetLor Youth Club and to get involved, please visit fetlor.org.uk

For further information, please contact FetLor Operations Manager Ellen Asquith on 0131 315 3166.