Duke of Edinburgh
NMC Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Award Expedition by Lorraine Woolley
On 4th October 2021 the fantastic ‘NMC DofE’ team embarked on their qualifying Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Award Expedition. Originally set for 2020, the expedition was postponed several times due to the pandemic. Our team were determined to complete their awards in 2021 and were more than ready for the challenge, throwing themselves in with admirable energy and enthusiasm.
Upon arrival at the Bendrigg trust, the first job was to make their beds and unpack. Any tasks they were unable to do for themselves were carried out by NMC staff and PAs accompanying our cohort, under clear instructions from our participants to enable as much independence as possible. Once everyone was settled, our instructor Jenny Brindle from The Bendrigg Trust held a meeting with our participants to devise a route for the walking part of the Expedition and to have an orienteering session. The team worked together to find a suitable area that would be challenging, yet safe enough to complete. We then went orienteering which was pretty cold, wet and rugged – the ideal preparation for what was to come.
Our 2nd day plans needed changing due to adverse weather conditions. This proved to be a great opportunity to undertake rock climbing, something that many of our participants wanted to try but were quite apprehensive of. Every single member of the team scaled the wall, putting their complete trust in the Bendrigg Team to enable them to achieve this confidence building exercise. They were winched up, wheelchair and all! One of our participants, Amy Gittins, who uses a manual wheelchair decided not to take the lift back down. Instead, after a quick breather she climbed back down! Every single member of the team completed this and really did themselves and the NMC proud! They proved that no challenge is too great when you have the support you need to do it! On returning to the accommodation, everybody prepared and cooked their evening meal outdoors. This all had to be done under the instruction of participants from cooking to washing up!
Day three arrived, and we were amazed (and relieved) to see glorious sunshine, which provided the perfect setting for canoeing on Lake Windermere. Our team rose early, had breakfast and off they went to start their Qualifying Expedition. The Bendrigg Trust, NMC staff and PAs got everybody into the canoes with military precision! The route had already been set, lunch was packed and everybody was ready to learn and enjoy this amazing new experience.
They canoed for many hours on the Lake, taking in the beautiful surroundings. Those that couldn’t use the conventional ores had mini hand ores that they dipped into the water to help out with the rowing, so everyone gained the real experience.
After an exhausting day on the water our team got straight back to the accommodation and cooked their own evening meal outdoors on stoves. As you can imagine, they were tired and pretty cold by then but the wonderful Josh and Jake decided they were going to go the whole hog and camp out in a magnificent tepee tent. It had a log burning fire and all the equipment needed to make it happen. They used mobile hoists and mattresses, accompanied by great determination to make this possible. Josh had never camped before and was driven to do it despite a really challenging day. Jake did a sterling job of helping to make this happen by supporting his fellow team member alongside Josh’s PA to get him on the mattress and wrapped up for the night. This was teamwork at its upmost, which is what Duke of Edinburgh is all about.
On the final day, the classic Lake District weather provided our team with the ultimate challenge of a 5 mile hike in torrential rain with a Windermere Ferry crossing in the mix and soggy sandwiches under a tarpaulin cover! There wasn’t a single grumble and everybody got on with it with true NMC ‘can do’ spirit. The route was planned meticulously to accommodate wheelchair capability, with a varied terrain to give everybody the experience of an expedition. Everybody was prepared for the weather and unrecognisable under their rain proof covers! They powered through the route in wind and rain to join the Windermere Ferry that was built into their route. When they reached the other side, they had to complete the final leg which they did with flying colours.
They completed a difficult journey and really tested themselves to see what could be achieved. Everybody worked so hard to complete it and this was done with true determination. Duke of Edinburgh is all about being independent and going on a journey of self-discovery and capability. I think the whole team realised that they are capable of doing anything after overcoming every obstacle that came their way. They learnt that barriers are there to be knocked down and in the face of adversity you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.
We are extremely proud of TeamNMC DofE!
Silver Award Profiles
Amy, Josh and Xander are currently working towards their Silver Award. Here are their profiles.
Hi, my name is Amy. I’m 19 and I’ve signed up to complete my Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award with the NMC. I’m so privileged to be able to have this opportunity to learn new skills, improve confidence and take part in new adventures all because of the amazing NMC!
For the volunteering section I've chosen to help out at my local library with the children’s activities and general library duties on Saturdays for 6 months.
For my skill section I’m managing the NMC tuck shop for 6 months. I go shopping for the stock, refill the trolley...
My name is Josh and I am 22 years old. I have a Neuro Muscular condition which is why I currently go to the NeuroMuscular Centre to do physio every 2 weeks and to do my graphics course every Tuesday. When I'm not at the NMC, I am at a college in Leigh called Expanse Learning, where I am learning how to apply for jobs and I also do a work placement every Monday as a teaching assistant in another class in college.
During my free time I love spending time with my wonderful family especially my baby sister Evie and I also like spending time with my lovely girlfriend Megan. My other hobbies include playing wheelchair football for....
My name is Xander. I am 15. I live with my Mum, Dad, my older brother Josh who is away at university most of the time and my dog Shelby. My main hobby is collecting and building Lego sets. I like rock music, Dr Who and watching Marvel and Star Wars films.
I take part in Speak Easy sessions for my skill section. The speak easy sessions are about getting together with other people in the group, talking with each other and playing out scenarios that will help us in the future like talking on the phone to important people.....
Dominic Morgan Achieves His Bronze Award
Dom is the first person to achieve this prestigious award through the NMC DofE scheme.
It's a tough challenge for anyone, and we are all in complete awe of Dom's achievement. The award ceremony on 26th February was a proud evening for Dom, his parents, his fellow DofE team members and our whole charity. Several hundred people heard about Dom's achievements and gave a huge round of applause when he went up to collect his certificate. Some said it wasn't possible. Dom has proved ANYTHING is possible. It's all about what you can do. It's much more about abilities than disabilities.
Enormous congratulations to Dom from all us at NMC!
Click here for full details of Dom's amazing achievement, the successful team expedition to the Lake District with our group of ambitious young people and the fantastic skills they have gained.
Duke of Edinburgh
The Bronze Award
The Bronze Award provides the opportunity for young people across the nation to volunteer, take up a new skill, try a physical activity and tackle an overnight expedition. You only need to spend an hour each week for three months on each section and, depending on which section you enjoy the most (volunteering, physical activity or skill), you will need to complete a further three months of your preferred activity to achieve the Bronze Award.
Not sure which activities qualify? Here are some examples:
This list is by no means exhaustive, there are hundreds of opportunities just waiting to be explored.
Equally as exciting is the prospect of going on a two-day, one-night expedition. We can tailor it to your individual needs and it’s a fantastic way to enhance team work skills and meet new people. This year’s cohort of DofE participants are undertaking an expedition in a beautiful, fully accessible venue in the Lake District so why not follow in their footsteps / wheel tracks?
This is the perfect chance to boost your CV or university applications and, most importantly, it will allow you to have fun whilst pushing yourself that extra mile.
If this rewarding scheme is of interest, please get in touch with Lorraine on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Helping at your local Scouts Association
Helping at your local Girl Guiding Group
Providing admin or reception support at a local hospice
Volunteering at NMC
Reading at a local primary school or care home
Arts and Craft
Speech and Drama