How the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme impacts the lives of people across the East

From humble beginnings in 1956 to 11,000 centres in 140 countries, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards have impacted the lives of millions of people globally. 

The first girl in England to be awarded the Duke of Edinburgh gold award was Joan Punt from Hockley in Essex.

Joan got her gold in 1958, the same year that the Queen gave her son Charles the title of Prince of Wales.

Joan said the Duke “was very kind and spoke to us all”  and explained “he didn’t put on airs and graces”. 

The award scheme is for 14 to 24 year-olds and people can complete three progressive levels, Bronze, Silver or Gold. 

To complete the awards you have to support your community, become fitter, develop new skills, complete an expedition and work with others. 

Woodlands in Luton was the first school for people with learning difficulties to join the Gold level of the scheme. 

One teacher at the school said the awards give people great confidence.

A study by the University of Northampton found the awards help not just those participating, but the community around them.