News story

HRH The Earl of Wessex opens the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’s new regional office, Belfast

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex officially opened the Duke of Edinburgh's Award's new Regional Office at Forestgrove Business Park.

His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex today officially opened the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’s new regional office at Forestgrove Business Park Belfast. Upon arrival HRH was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of County Down Mr David Lindsay.

The Earl, as a Trustee, plays an active role in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the programme for young people set up by The Duke of Edinburgh in the 1950s. The mission of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is to inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and recognise their achievements. HRH The Earl of Wessex last visited Northern Ireland in February 2011.

Moving to the Boardroom, accompanied by Ms Kate Thompson, Director Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Northern Ireland, HRH met James Griffin, Operations/Development Officer, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Northern Ireland and members of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Northern Ireland Youth Committee. The Youth Committee of 13 young people, formed in January 2011, gives them a greater involvement in the governance and decision making of the scheme in Northern Ireland. HRH heard about the role of the Youth Committee, the activities undertaken and plans for the future.

In the Training Room HRH went on to meet a number of DofE supporters representing the Ambassador Network Members, Positive Futures’ Group, St Malachy’s College Belfast, Probation Board for Northern Ireland and Belfast Royal Academy.

Later, Dr Robson Davison, Chair Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Northern Ireland, invited HRH to unveil a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the DofE’s new Northern Ireland Regional Office and to sign the visitors’ book. Following farewells HRH departed for the next engagement.

Notes to editors

Upon arrival HRH was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of County Down Mr David Lindsay and went on to meet:

Mrs Ann Mackie, Sheriff for County Down

Councillor Jim White, Mayor, Castlereagh Borough Council

Mr Stephen Reid, Chief Executive, Castlereagh Borough Council

Dr Robson Davison, Chair, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Northern Ireland

Ms Kate Thompson, Director, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Northern Ireland

Ms Julie McGimpsey, Office and Communications Manager, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Northern Ireland

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award continues to grow and appeal to a large number of young people in Northern Ireland. Last year new starts increased by 27% to nearly 8,500 and Awards achieved increased by 4%. Northern Ireland consistently achieves the highest level of penetration into its eligible population of any region or country in the UK.