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Support For The DofE Award Scheme In Somerset Goes From Strength To Strength In 2023.

Many of you will know that Freemasonry in Somerset has been a long-term supporter of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme (DofE) in the county.

Our DPGM, Ben Batley, set the ball rolling in 2016 following talks with the Chair of the Somerset DofE Committee. The possibility of bursary grant funding being provided by Somerset’s Freemasons, and how it would best be utilised, quickly gathered pace whereupon the initial three-year bursary support funding programme was agreed.

Primarily, the bursary grant funding was provided to enable a wide range of disadvantaged young people in Somerset the opportunity of signing-up to take part in the DofE Scheme. Without access to the funding and appropriate support from the DofE staff, their participation could never have become a reality, whereupon yet more opportunities for them to gain essential life-skills would have passed them by.

Since then, the relationship between Freemasonry and the DofE in Somerset has gone from strength to strength, as has been regularly reported within this website.

Intrepid DofE Cyclists At Bridgwater Masonic Hall

The past year has continued this strengthening theme, as well as adding a new dimension to the support given by our Masons, through personal engagement with the youngsters as they successfully completed some of the challenges necessary for them to gain their awards.

Annual Masonic financial support from SMC, UGLE and MCF has continued unbroken in Somerset ever since and has helped hundreds to gain access to the DofE Scheme.                   

The financial year 2022/23 saw 155 youngsters receive bursary-funded access and there have been 84 so far during this financial year.

Students, Team Leads, Teachers and Masons About To Set Off On Their Hike To Shepton Mallet.

W Bro. Steve Collings has co-ordinated much of this Masonic engagement with the assistance of Carol Authers, DofE Operations Manager in Somerset.

The students were also treated to refreshments and guided tours of Masonic Halls at Taunton, Bridgwater, Midsomer Norton and Frome at the beginning and end of the cycle routes. Each of the students, either cycling or hiking, were gifted a fine DofE/Somerset Freemasonry branded shirt. They loved them and, so we’re told, need no excuse to proudly wear them during their other DofE activities!!

The participation of numerous Somerset Masons with over 40 DofE students and 8 of their teachers, from 5 different schools and colleges this year has included two cycle rides, a hike and a tree planting session.

Achieving A DofE Award Really Is Something To Be Proud Of!!

Our APGM, Richard Winter, was also lucky enough to attend DofE Awards being made to 19 students at Taunton and Bridgwater Colleges, seeing for himself just how much their participation in the DofE Awards Scheme has meant to them.

The current financial climate continues to highlight just how essential the Masonic funding has been in cementing this excellent partnership into our communities across Somerset.  

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