Buckingham Palace celebration to thank staff for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award achievements

Buckingham Palace celebration to thank staff for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award achievements

Two New City College staff members were invited to attend a fantastic garden party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of their hard work in running the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme for students.

Kyle Balcombe and Ellie Smith, both from Havering Sixth Form campus, enjoyed tea and cake while listening to speeches from the Duke of Edinburgh himself (Prince Edward), British astronaut Tim Peake and other inspiring public figures.

They were able to explore the grounds of the palace, meet Gold Award holders and talk to other volunteers who run the scheme at various organisations around the UK.

As part of the Enrichment programme, Kyle has been running the DofE Award at the college for the last five years, guiding numerous students on a challenging journey of resilience and adventure.

He said: “The Palace event was a great experience for us and it was good to see all the young people and hear what they have achieved and what the scheme has meant to them.

“The Duke of Edinburgh congratulated them, praising their determination in difficult and challenging situations and thanked all the volunteers who made it possible for the young people to take part.”

Kyle said Tim Peake highlighted the need for all of us to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and to aim beyond the horizon and go further than we believed was possible.

The Silver Award is run at NCC Havering Sixth Form by Kyle and Ellie and this year around 20 students are well on their way to achieving their medal.

The group has just completed a day’s training in Epping Forest and will soon be embarking on their Practise Expedition in North Essex and then the Qualifying Expedition in Dorset.

As part of the DofE Award students aged between 14 and 24 must complete four sections – Physical, Volunteering, Skill and the Expedition section. These sections aim to encourage young people to learn more, do more, give something back to the community and improve their teamwork and communication skills.

Kyle said: “The trip to Buckingham Palace was a fantastic opportunity to hear how taking part in the DofE Award has helped so many young people broaden their horizons, to get out there and do more than they ever thought they would be able to. It is a tough physical and mental challenge, but if nothing else, it’s an opportunity to make new friends, help others and have fun.”

The DofE Award was founded in 1956 by Prince Philip and he held the patronage until his death in 2021. Prince Edward became patron in 2023 when King Charles handed him the title of Duke of Edinburgh.

Apply to New City College today for exciting Enrichment opportunities!