Duke of Edinburgh Success Celebrated at Holyrood Palace

Shana Macphail from Nicolson Open Group at the Gold Award Presentations, Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

On the 1st July, one young person from the Nicolson Open Group attended a celebration event in the gardens of Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, where they received their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.  This was the first celebration event since the Pandemic with the last presentation being in 2019.  The Earl of Forfar was also in attendance and spoke about their achievements.

Those who achieve a Gold DofE Award will volunteer, learn a skill, get fit, take part in a week long residential and plan and undertake an expedition in wild country. Widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people, DofE programmes enable any young person, aged 14-24, to develop key skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment and team working.

Alice Murray, who is the DofE Operations Manager at Comhairle Nan Eilan Siar, and said,

“It was lovely to see that Shana has finally received her Gold Award Certificate after all her hard work, dedication and commitment in completing their Awards.  Shana has gained invaluable life skills along the way. We wish her every success as she goes onto further studies and future employment.

Speaking about her DofE experience, Shana Macphail said,

“For my Gold DofE Award, in the volunteering section I worked in a charity shop raising funds for The Gambia Partnership. This was over a 12 month period, working once a week.
The physical section involved me attending football training with the Western Isles Women’s team a couple of times each week, being coached and staying active playing a sport I really enjoy.
As well as being coached, I also developed my own coaching skills, by helping school aged children take part in a variety of age appropriate multisport activities.
For my expedition we walked from Ardroil to Scaladale over 4 days and 3 nights. During this time we experienced the wettest 24 hours in Harris for 20 years. Each day we covered an average of 10km to keep us on track to finish in the designated time.
For the Residential section I went to The Gambia with The Gambia Partnership Charity. This trip involved meeting locals, visiting the village school (Sgoil Creideamh) and even taking the kids for some football sessions.
Over the course of my Gold Award I learnt many valuable skills.
Volunteering in a charity shop allowed me to gain confidence in working with the public and manage the responsibility of running a shop.
In the physical section, I was able to build on fitness levels, tactical knowledge and improve technical skills.
The skills I learned while coaching included growing in adaptability and becoming a more effective communicator.
The expedition taught me how to work well as a team as well as remaining focused on the task no matter what.”

Nearly 321,000 young people started a DofE Award in the UK last year, the highest figure since the Charity started in 1966.  They started through a variety of centres including both state and independent schools, special schools, businesses, prisons, young offender institutions and youth groups.

To find out more about the DofE and how it enables young people to succeed, please visit the Duke of Edinburgh website (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)