MORE than 1,500 young people from County Durham served their community by doing The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award last year.

Between them, they gave almost 15,000 hours of their time volunteering, learning new skills and taking part in expeditions – the social value of which is said to be about £64,000.

Award officials have contacted Durham County Council to recognise the achievement, with young people in County Durham offering the largest number of hours of any authority in the region.

The Northern Echo:

Councillor Olwyn Gunn, Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “We were delighted to hear from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award about the commitment and success of our young people. They are a real credit to the county.

“Not only have they achieved so much personally in the last year, but their time and effort has made a huge difference to so many communities. The fact that they’ve also been so generous with how much time they’re willing to commit reflects the potential our young people have too.

“While there is a lot of uncertainty at the minute as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, I’m sure that it won’t be long before more communities are benefitting from this programme and the county’s young people; and we all look forward to sharing more of their successes.”

The Northern Echo:

Ruth Collins, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award operations manager for the north of England, said: “We are delighted that so many people from County Durham are showing their determination and commitment to their communities.

"We’re privileged to be able to help them in their journey to becoming the very best version of themselves they can be.”