UPDATE: COVID-19

AS A LEADING DofE EXPEDITION PROVIDER, WE CONTINUE TO MAKE A JUSTIFIED AND RESPONSIBLE APPROACH TO THE CURRENT SITUATION WITH COVID-19, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE RESPONSIBILITY WE HAVE FOR THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF OUR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF AND THIS WILL ALWAYS BE AT THE HEART OF OUR DECISIONS.

Following our previous update on our website, we apologise for not updating our website ‘News’ section since 13th April 2020.  We are constantly reviewing and evaluating the situation with COVID-19 and have been waiting for the Government’s outline and details for the slight relaxation of current ‘social distancing’ measures, generally known as the ‘lockdown’; hence the main reason for the delay of this latest update. An extensive briefing is expected to be given by the Prime Minister later this week, in which further details of the future measures to be undertaken, to limit further spread of the virus and see the country come out of the current ‘lockdown’ period.

Taking into account the limited information about the expected outcomes of the PM’s briefing, it is wise, at this stage, to assume that it will be too early to run our planned Bronze, Silver and Gold DofE ‘open’ expeditions, originally planned for the end of May 2020, and to postpone them to a future date. Various options will be emailed to all participants to consider as an alternative. There are also a number of differing methods available, enabling us to support participants through the DofE Expedition section, all of which we have carefully considered to give young people the best possible opportunity to complete the Expedition section, and for us to work alongside and liaise with their school or organisation, who are also in a similar position to ourselves and many others, to support them through this period as well, offering further options for delivering the Expedition section to their participants. Therefore, the different methods of enabling this will be emailed to participants that have registered with us at all levels of the Award. However, these may be subject to change, if required, by measures imposed by Government guidance, ensuring the continued safety and welfare of our customers and staff.

We are currently liaising with all the schools and organisations we work with across the UK, in a similar way, and all have postponed their DofE expeditions to the summer, later in the year, or the early part of next year, so we have been working hard to accommodate all these changes along with reorganising our own ‘open’ Bronze, Silver and Gold expedition weeks, and all these are under constant review. This has been a difficult process, but one in which we are now ‘on top of’ and are looking positively towards the future.

PLEASE NOTE THAT VARIOUS GOLD EXPEDITION DATES HAVE BEEN ARRANGED, IN ADDITION TO THE ONES ADVERTISED ON OUR WEBSITE, AS WE ARE CONSTANTLY RESPONDING TO THE COVID-19 SITUATION AND GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE. PLEASE CONTACT US FOR FURTHER DETAILS AND TO DISCUSS THE VARIOUS OPTIONS AVAILABLE.

The DofE’s position has remained constant throughout this period and the statement issued in March, relating to the Expedition section, is still current:

‘Some Gold students are unlikely to be able to do their practice expedition due to the coronavirus outbreak. Can they just do their qualifying expedition and still achieve their Award?

At Gold and Silver levels, practice expeditions are an important part of the preparation and training participants undertake to ensure that they can undertake a safe and enjoyable remotely supervised expedition. For that reason, all Gold and Silver participants will still have to do both a practice and qualifying expedition.

But we’re determined that young people shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Award because of coronavirus. We’ll be sharing ideas about how participants can continue their programme at this time, as well as working with LOs and AAPs to help participants to access an expedition once the crisis is over. We’ll issue more updates in the next few days.

Remember, DofE expeditions can be run throughout the year, not just in the traditional ‘expedition season’. LOs and AAPs which choose to run expeditions later in the year may wish to consider using indoor accommodation to facilitate a safe and enjoyable expedition for their participants.  In any event, the DofE charity will work with LOs to minimise any potential negative impact on a participant’s progress through their DofE.

You may also decide to take a break from your activities and pick them up again later on, and that is fine too. Don’t forget: you’ve got until you’re 25 to achieve your Award, and if you’re near your 25th birthday please speak to your DofE Leader about an age extension.’

We will continue to update all our customers, both through email and this website news section, as and when we have further information regarding our DofE expeditions and training courses.

May we take this opportunity to wish all our customers and staff, a continued safe passage through these difficult times.