As we are constantly evaluating and responding to the COVID-19 situation, further ‘open’ Gold DofE expeditions have been organised to support young people through their DofE programme and to give a potential positive outcome to the current position, with new dates being advertised on our website.
We are continually 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 later in the year, or the early part of next year, so we have been also working hard to accommodate all these with very positive outcomes. We have also had extensive discussions with our insurance company (Activities Industry Mutual) who are happy for our DofE expeditions to take place, as long as we are following government guidance and with the relevant risk assessments in place, which we have!
We may, if necessary, need to limit the number of participants on each of the expeditions to comply with any ‘social distancing’ measures being undertaken at the time of the expedition and meet any other requirements indicated by government guidance, which may include, although not exclusively, the following:
Sleeping in separate tents, with some individual tents being transported to and from the campsite for the duration of the expedition; the wearing of face masks and gloves for some aspects of the expedition; minimum distance between participants during all aspects of the expedition; cooking on separate stoves with some individual stoves being transported to and from the campsite for the duration of the expedition; items of equipment being subject to a sanitation prior to and after use; provision and availability of appropriate (high alcohol content/soap-based) hand-sanitiser and washing facilities; planning aspects of the expedition using online Microsoft Teams (we have the ability as a business to offer and coordinate this facility); provision of individual maps and/or daily laminated maps of the expedition route; adapted emergency procedures and closer supervision of the expedition.
Currently, the Welsh Assembly, under their COVID-19 rules, state that members of the public are not allowed to travel more than five miles from their home, which also means that other UK citizens are not allowed to travel into Wales, however, we have extensive (over 40 years!) experience of using national parks within England, particularly Dartmoor and for our expeditions to take place (government restrictions permitting) in this area. Dartmoor has a distinct advantage, as 70% of the national park is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall Estate (Prince Charles’ property) who allow wild-camping on the moors and this aspect could reopen once government guidance permits, which eliminates the possible issues regarding campsites and gives more flexibility when planning routes. We have supervised many thousands of DofE participants on Dartmoor over the years, including those that have wished to wild-camp, therefore, have vast experience in supporting many young people in this aspect of their expedition.
May we take this opportunity to wish all our customers and staff, a continued safe passage through these difficult times.