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Duke of Edinburgh’s Award continues despite lockdown

The lockdown measures resulting from Covid-19 impacted upon everyone’s lives, including those youngsters enrolled on the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in Gibraltar.

But due to the flexibility allowed by the International Award Foundation and the National Award Operator, some participants were able to pursue several activities online, as well as in the local community.

One of the Award sections is the ‘voluntary service’ which requires participants to volunteer, for at least one hour a week over a set period, to assist someone or a particular group within the community. During the lockdown in Gibraltar, local children and their families prepared themselves to undertake schoolwork once again from home.

Recognising that some families did not have a laptop or computer for home online learning the Scorpions Collective Network was formed. Under the campaign slogan ‘make a change’ the Sovereign Insurance Scorpions Rugby Club formed the Collective, an initiative asking people to donate their unwanted laptops.

The Scorpions Collective members included Newton Store, Rock Wallaby, the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Gibraltar Open Award Centre, Office of the Commissioner for Sustainable Development and Future Generations, One Media and Events, Gibraltar Digital Skills Foundation, and the Scorpions Rugby Club.

Alexa Tilbury-Chang, Harvey Leroy, and Preston Feeke, currently participating in the Award through the Open Award Centre, were inspired by the BBC initiative ‘Make a Difference’ on how an organisation was donating laptops to families that were not fortunate enough to own a laptop or computer.

Alexa, Harvey, and Preston, who have links to the Club, asked the public to donate their unwanted laptops.

“Covid restrictions had meant that children in Gibraltar were needing to learn from home during lockdown. Not every child in Gibraltar had a computer or laptop to do schoolwork from home,” Alexa said.

“So, after a few messages and phone calls by my father, we started the Scorpions Collective Network. Newton Store kindly agreed to ensure the laptops were in good working order and with the help of the Open Award Centre, we distributed them to those in need.”

“The collective believed that this work was vital to many young people who were then able to stay connected and continue their education during the pandemic.”

The photographs show Alexa, with one of the collected laptops, and the Head Teacher of St Bernard’s Lower Primary School, Mrs Sonia Lopez, along with teacher Jenny Sciacaluga, receiving one of the laptops.

The Open Award Centre said it is very grateful to Melanie and Lewis Stagnetto who manage The Nautilus Project. Several participants from different levels joined this group and have participated in several activities including clean-up campaigns and understanding further how important it is to protect the sea-life surrounding Gibraltar’s coastline. This has enabled these participants to complete the hours required to work towards completing their Voluntary Service section.

A separate article on the activities undertaken will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.

Other sections that have to be undertaken for the Award include ‘physical recreation’ and ‘skills’. The physical recreation proved particularly difficult due to sports venues being closed and teams not able to train or play. However, leaders at the Open Award Centre overcame this problem by setting up a walking club that enabled participants to improve their fitness and stamina prior to them undertaking their qualifying adventurous journey.

For the skills section, several participants were able to use online resources to progress with music lessons, learn about issues surrounding cyber security, and upload data relating to environmental issues around the world.

For more information about the Award or to get involved, please contact 20051971, or email info@thedukes.gi, or visit www.thedukes.gi

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