Future-proofing society

Inspiring young people in Wales

We have given the biggest single corporate donation ever received by The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) in Wales to help the charity provide life-changing experiences for young people

1 Sep 2020

Young people taking part in the DofE get involved in physical activities, learn new skills, volunteer to help others and, of course, embark on a challenging and rewarding expedition. It can be life-changing, laying strong foundations for a positive and successful future.

Legal & General has strengthened its support for the DofE in Wales to help the charity extend its work across the country and to provide opportunities for more disadvantaged young people to take part and achieve their Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards. Our support amounts to the biggest single corporate annual donation the DofE has ever received in Wales.

The charity works hard to help young people aged between 14 and 25 develop skills they may not learn in the classroom and its efforts have continued to provide structure and positive goals for participants throughout the Covid-19 crisis. We have 1,800 colleagues working in Cardiff and our support will have a particular focus on Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Cardiff and Caerphilly, where many of our people live.

Disadvantaged backgrounds

Ian Gwilym, Senior Relationships Manager for the DofE says: “This donation is more than significant. We had 11,500 young people start their DofE in Wales last year and 27% of those were from disadvantaged backgrounds. This fantastic new support will enable us to further develop our work in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Wales.

“Legal & General’s support is really like a bursary for success, helping young people to experience things they might not otherwise have been able to. And employers love it because it gives them informal evidence of a young person’s character and that they’ve shown commitment beyond the classroom. Taking part is voluntary, so it demonstrates that a young person has put their hand up to do a little extra. It also gives them great skills, such as team building, problem solving and communication, and of course it gives them a great talking point at an interview.”

The DofE helps to lay the foundation for a positive future. Participants can take part in sports like football and netball, and learn skills such as playing a musical instrument or learning a language. Taking part in regular volunteering opportunities provides a very powerful development opportunity with a wide range of activities to choose, from helping at a local cub pack or sports club to providing mentoring through various peer support projects. And the expedition gives young people a taste of adventure and independence in the countryside.

The Covid-19 outbreak

During the Covid-19 crisis, the DofE in Wales has been able to continue much of its work with young people, who are still able to take part in physical, skills and volunteering activities. Expeditions have had to be halted temporarily but a new Certificate of Achievement has been introduced for participants who complete their Volunteering, Skills and Physical sections, to recognise their dedication to their programmes during these difficult times.

Ian explains: “With what’s going on, young people’s lives have been turned upside down. I think they’ve had it harder than more mature people because they lost all their structure; their schools, their social lives and their school friends. It all came to a grinding halt, so I think the DofE is more relevant than ever because it can help them refocus and reshape their lives.”

Legal & General Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Lynne Sheehy says: “We want to give more young people this positive, exciting opportunity. Through DofE, they improve their health and wellbeing, confidence, skills and happiness. Financial support is fundamental in reaching young people to give them this amazing opportunity.

“But Legal & General has developed a relationship with the DofE that goes much deeper and further than financial support. As part of the Business Advisory Group of the DofE in Wales, we can come together with other like-minded businesses to collaborate and support the work of the DofE across Wales.”

We are a Silver Partner of the DofE UK. Although our longest relationship with the DofE is in Wales, we also support the charity in England and have recently focused our funding in the North East, where there is little DofE infrastructure. We also support DofE America to provide the International Award for young people in the US.