The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has announced a £3m expansion plan to reach an extra 20,000 young people per year by 2021.
It is being supported by a new partnership with the #iwill fund which is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the government.
The #iwill fund is contributing £1m. DofE’s is using £1.5m that was raised by its supporters in the 2016 as part of Diamond Anniversary celebrations and additional DofE donations to Diamond Anniversary fundraising in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The money will help the charity’s ambition to increase the number of disadvantaged young people starting their DofE from 50,000 to 70,000 per year by 2021.
The partnership comes from £40m of seed funding from the government and the National Lottery to create the #iwill fund.
The #iwill fund supports the aims of the UK-wide #iwill campaign, coordinated by Step Up To Serve, which aims to increase the number of young people taking part in social action.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a youth achievement award that is currently helping 420,000 young people "to develop for life and work in the UK".
In 2016/2017, over 270,000 young people started a DofE programme, including nearly 50,000 from disadvantaged backgrounds. It was founded by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 1956, the DofE is currently being delivered in 10,800 DofE centres such as schools, youth clubs and prisons, supported by over 2,600 partner organisations and approximately 40,000 adult volunteers from all walks of life.
Peter Westgarth, chief executive of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with the #iwill fund to ensure that over the next four years, over a quarter of a million disadvantaged young people are given the head start we know a DofE experience will provide.“
Gemma Bull, portfolio development director at Big Lottery Fund, said: “This new partnership with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, as part of the #iwill fund, provides an exciting opportunity to support young people to develop their skills and confidence. Working with partners and their networks we can reach more young people, enabling them to take the lead in creating new social action opportunities that benefit themselves and their local communities.”