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Bedfordshire’s mental health service is first NHS Trust to run Duke of Edinburgh Awards

19 February 2016


East London Foundation NHS Trust (ELFT) has become the first NHS trust in the country to run The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE). The programme will be used specifically to support young people who use Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Wellbeing Services.

Health development co-ordinator Steve Muggridge has driven the project and cannot wait for the first group of young people to start their programmes to achieve the prestigious DofE Awards.

The licence is for Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Wellbeing Services but Steve, who spent six years in the RAF as a PE instructor, also hopes to see it rolled out with the Trust in London.

“I am really excited about this project,” said the 31-year-old from Bedford, who will complete his Expedition Leader training in the coming weeks. We see the DofE as a fantastic opportunity to really help service users in the community.

“It helps build confidence, improve physical fitness, sets a routine and provides clear goals: these benefit young people looking to regain a sense of structure and hopefully further their education or find work.

Training will be provided to service users in the community but Steve plans to promote the DofE to inpatients as part of their recovery plan when they go home.

The DofE is open to young people aged 16-24 and will be offered to any service user in that age bracket.

For the Bronze Award they are required to complete an hour of physical activity, an hour learning a new skill and an hour volunteering every week.

The six-month programme finishes with a two-day expedition led by Steve. He is the Trust’s registered DofE Leader and he is looking for volunteers to help support the programme. Email steve.muggridge@elft.nhs.uk if you would like to get involved.

ELFT Deputy Chief Executive and Chairman of Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Wellbeing Services, John Wilkins, said: “As a Trust we feel honoured and privileged to run The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The Charity has spent the past seven decades transforming the lives of young people and we want to use its values – from being physically active to helping others – to give mental health service users the same opportunities for a brighter future.”

Duke of Edinburgh Awards Regional Director for Central, Phil Brown, said, “We are delighted that the award scheme will support clients using Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Wellbeing Services at the start of our Diamond Anniversary year. The wellbeing of young people today is something we feel is highly important and we want to encourage and enable all young people, from any background or circumstance, to  develop vital skills that will help them through life and in work.“ 

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