Oswestry Rotary Club supports the Derwen College Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award students

Tue 26th May 2015 at 10.00 - 11.00

Jayne and Hazel visit the Derwen to find out more . . .

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Back in March Oswestry Rotary Club received an email from Steve Evans, Sports Co-ordinator at the Derwen College (for young adults with a wide range of learning difficulties and disabilities), seeking financial support for 4 students intending to undertake the 'Gold Award' of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.  It is the first time Derwen College students have attempted this, and the members of the Rotary Club felt strongly that they wanted to support the endeavour.
 
The total cost per student being around £650, the club decided to assist each student with £100, thus £400 in total, leaving the remainder to be raised by their own endeavours.  Since beginning their training last September, Matthew, Wesley, Simon and George have been working on the skill, volunteering and physical sections of the award but to pass they will have to undertake a 4-day and 3-night qualifying canoe expedition in Scotland in early July.  When you consider the additional needs of these students you can appreciate what an immense challenge these young people face! Steve says: "This is a challenge which will see the development of the skills and attitudes required to become a more rounded, confident and independent young adult.  It promises to offer highs, lows, great laughs and of course some amazing memories."

When members of Oswestry Rotary Club attended the Derwen College to hand over the cheque, there was a surprise in store!  The students erected a 3-man tent complete with the inner tent section in record time and even brewed up coffee for Rotarians Hazel and Jayne on their camping stove -  it was a lovely opportunity to chat with the young people and find out just what the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award means to them.  George explained that on one of their practice sessions they took turns to cook - sausage and beans proved popular as did the marshmallows they toasted round the campfire!
 
There will be one final practice of the training and canoe expedition assisted by Llangollen company Safe and Sound Outdoors when the young men will be put through their paces, having to carry all their equipment, such as tents, camping mats, sleeping bags, rucksacks, cooking equipment etc and be trained in route planning, map work and orienteering, this time over 3 days in the Lake District.
 
 After a very interesting time chatting to the students it was time to hand over the cheque, wish them well and leave them to get on with their preparations.  Presenting the cheque to Andrew Harris, Deputy Principal of the Derwen College, Rotarian Jayne Middleton said: "I have always considered the Derwen to be a truly wonderful facility of immense benefit to those young people lucky enough to go there. Similarly the D of E scheme is a great way of adding value to any young person's education and I can see what a difference it will make to the students involved".

Jayne Middleton

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