Last Updated: 06/09/2023
A call has gone out for Wales’ residents to take part in the Gower Walk in support of young people taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE)
Alun Michael has answered the call and will be putting his best foot forward to take part in the 22 mile walk on September 9th.
The South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner has signed up to the challenge as he celebrates his 80th birthday and explains why the cause is so close to his heart.
“The Duke of Edinburgh scheme has always been part of my life, in fact, it made a huge impact on me since I completed the award as a 17 year-old,” said Alun, who was, in fact, one of the first in Wales to complete the Gold Award.
“It was something that was life changing for me as a teenager and I have continued to value the DofE throughout my life. When I became a youth worker in Cardiff, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is something that I promoted at every opportunity. I have seen first-hand how it has inspired and changed people, improving their life skills and confidence.”
Such was Alun’s commitment to the scheme, in 1999, he was asked to deliver a keynote speech to an audience which included the Duke of Edinburgh himself at the DofE Conference in Belfast. In his current role as Police and Crime Commissioner, he is funding a partnership between South Wales Police and the Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services which will enhance the force’s Police Youth Volunteers scheme. It is hoped that the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award can be part of the offer for youngsters who join the South Wales Police Youth Volunteers.
On the challenge ahead, Alun said: “Walking is and always been a passion of mine and over the years, I must have walked many hundreds of miles around the hills and coastlines across Wales, so this challenge is perfect for me – it ties things together very nicely and it is a wonderful way to mark my 80th birthday.”
In May, Alun – with members of his family – completed a 20 mile walk through the hills of Bala in his native North Wales. He added: “Whilst my legs may not be able to take me as far as they used to and insist on a slightly gentler pace, I think I am up to the challenge and will give it my all for this cause which is very close to my heart.”
The DofE is working to reach one million young people by 2026. In 2022/23, more than 11,000 young people in Wales started their DofE – and young people in Wales gave an amazing 90,103 hours to their communities for their Volunteering section, equivalent to more than £433,000 in estimated total value.
To do their DofE, young people aged 14-24 choose their own activities to complete Physical, Skills and Volunteering sections, an Expedition and a Residential at Gold level. They have fun, discover new passions, give back to their communities, grow in resilience and self-belief, and develop vital skills employers value – whilst working towards a widely recognised and respected Award.
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