Save Medway DofE Award!!

For those of you who do not know, it is likely that Medway Council are going to stop providing the Duke of Edinburgh Award. It is proposed that the award within Medway should no longer run by Medway Council but by an alternative provider.
This means that all of the funding from the council will eventually be cut and they will no longer support us, as young people when completing our award.
Us, as the Medway Youth Panel, want to put a stop to this as it will most likely lead to the disappearance of the award in and around our local community.
In 2015/2016, 1,074 young people took part in the award in Medway and bronze participants alone gave up at least 8,000 hours of their time volunteering in their local charity shops, guiding units, primary schools and many more.
There are already 644 of us enrolled for 2016/2017 whose training and expeditions will be directly affected by this decision.
The award does not only give back to the community through volunteering, but it also teaches us skills which we would not learn elsewhere, for example independence, confidence, communication, and leadership skills. It also gives us a chance to create memories which which we will never forget.
If the decision goes through and the award structure is reorganised this could mean a significant decrease in young people participating in the award for a number of reasons.
One being the price and organisation of the award, at the moment, a bronze award costs way under £100, a silver being £169 and then a gold is just under £500.
For many people, this is already a struggle to afford, and with the proposed changes to Medway DofE, these prices are likely to rapidly increase and possibly double.
This is because the schools who would like to participate would have to pay for a license costing £1,000.
Another issue with the council getting rid of the award, is that all of the admin which is done by our council currently, would eventually have to be done by teachers at the school for no extra cost, and the wonderful members of the Medway DofE team will lose their jobs because of it.
The one thing that the Duke of Edinburgh Award always promotes, is that it is "an award which is accessible to all", however if this change is made, this statement will no longer be true and the meaning behind the award will not be true.
Many schools across Medway take part in the award, from Rochester girls to UTC to Abbey Court Special School and if this no longer became an option it would mean that there is not as much of a chance to meet new people from so many different backgrounds, and share the memories which are made on these expeditions.
We need the Medway Council to hear our young voices, as we are the ones who are going to be affected by this, so please consider our views and keep Medway DofE within the council.

There are a number of ways you can support us, by signing this petition, emailing your local councillor/MP and joining us at the cabinet meeting where this decision will be made on Tuesday, Dec 20th at 3pm at Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham. We will be meeting outside at 2.30pm to try to speak to the councillors as they arrive.

Thank you,
The Medway Youth Panel

Leonie King- Medway Youth Panel    Contact the author of the petition

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