A generous donation of £10,000 has been made to the Somerset Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award Bursary Fund by Somerset Freemasons.

The presentation, which took place at Carymoor Environmental Centre, was attended by a group of local young people and celebrated the DofE Award Bursary Fund and the support it has provided to disadvantaged young people in Somerset.

DofE Bursaries provide support for ‘Alternative Provision’ (also known as ‘AP’), which is education arranged by the Council or schools for pupils who, for illness, exclusion or other reasons, cannot receive education in a mainstream school.

AP is provided in five places across Somerset.

As well as supporting AP, the Somerset Bursary Fund is available for any young person in Somerset who needs financial support to do their DofE Award, whether as a remote participant, through a school, college or in a group such as Guides or Scouts.

Over 2,600 young people in Somerset signed up to start a DofE Award this year. Entrants complete four activities for their Award; one physical to improve their fitness, a skill (such as learning a musical instrument), volunteering, and an expedition.

Cllr Tessa Munt, Somerset Council’s Executive Member for Children and Families, said: “We are really grateful for this generous donation.”

”This is a significant amount of money for the DofE Bursary Fund and will go a long way to help support alternative education provision, ensuring that others can gain this highly respected and well-recognised qualification.”

Ben Batley, deputy head of the Freemasons in Somerset, adds: “We remain fully committed to continuing bursary funding and on behalf of all Somerset Freemasons, I am honoured to be able to present a cheque donation of £10,000 to allow for disadvantaged participants to take part in the DoE Award Scheme across the County.”

”This donation, with previous funding, will ensure Somerset Freemasons have contributed to well over a decade of bursary support for young people.”

Rupert Farthing, from Carymoor Environmental Trust, said: “We have loved hosting the DofE group from Ansford Academy and seeing the students develop their skills and confidence each week.”

”The group has really benefitted from spending time outdoors and learning practical skills. We’re so grateful to be part of the DofE scheme and to be able to offer this opportunity.”

Those aged between 14 – 24 living in Somerset who would like to know more are encouraged to get in touch by emailing   DofE@somerset.gov.uk

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