Important Announcement

Dear Participants, Parents and Care Givers,

We have run the Duke of Edinburgh Award at Emmer Green Youth and Community Centre for the past 14 years with great success, supporting almost 500 participants through their awards. At first we worked under Reading Borough Council and later West Berkshire as one of several open (and school groups) which shared equipment, experience, and the costs of administration to ensure the award remained available and affordable to all young people.

This weekend we have been informed by DofE operations for the South East of England that every group should have its own license, and that our contract which should have allowed us to continue operating as we have for the past 14 years will expire in April of 2017 rather than 2019. The biggest impact of this being that we cannot operate the award during next year’s expedition season unless we become a Directly Licensed Centre (DLC).

To become a DLC would require increasing the price of the award significantly to cover:

• The annual license costs
• Purchasing and storing new equipment for expeditions
• Insurance for expeditions
• Training and recruiting volunteers to handle administrative roles
• Training current volunteers with additional accredited outdoor qualifications
• … and a wide range of other costs we do not currently deal with

This is having a significant impact on all of the groups in Berkshire, many of which will invariably close their doors at the end of the current season.

We are investigating every possible avenue to ensure that the Emmer Green DofE Bronze Award will run next year, on the original premise of the charity that we aim to create a world where young people can reach their full potential whatever their circumstances… something the organising body behind the award has perhaps forgotten.

With this in mind:

• There will not be an induction/welcome meeting in July, this will be delayed until we have secured the means to run the award.

• Please do not register for the award with West Berkshire as we will not be able to operate under their license, there is the very real possibility there will be no open groups in the Reading area come September.
I realise many of you will be disappointed and this has come as a complete shock to everyone here at the Emmer Green Award. We are, however, remaining positive and will contact you all with further news or important developments.

With thanks,

D Stephenson, J Dunn, S Page, L Gannon, M Brown, N Hall, A Gannon
Volunteers for the Emmer Green Youth and Community Centre Duke of Edinburgh Award.

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