We interviewed Sophie from S3 about the Duke of Edinburgh award and her innovative idea for completing her volunteering section despite the pandemic.

Can you please tell us a little about the Duke of Edinburgh award?

The Duke of Edinburgh award is open to anyone between the ages of 14 and 24 and there are three levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold. You have to plan and complete a programme of activities from four sections – developing a new skill, volunteering, becoming fitter, and completing an expedition.

What motivated you to start the programme?

At the end of S2 we got a choice between doing DofE and joining CCF and I thought DofE sounded like a great opportunity to develop some new interests and skills. I had also really enjoyed completing the JASS award in Primary School, which was like a junior DofE, so I thought it would be fun too!

Has Covid-19 affected how you complete the programme?  Which part of the programme are you hoping to achieve with your project?

Covid-19 has affected the programme, for instance, I wasn’t able to volunteer anywhere in person. Instead I have had to talk to people via Zoom and choose a project I could do at home, which was one of the reasons I decided to put together a cookbook for the Rock Trust.

How did you choose a charity for which to fundraise? What makes the Rock Trust special to you?

I wanted to fundraise for the Rock Trust because I’d come across them while choosing a local charity to represent for YPI (the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, which everyone does in S2, and which finishes with the winning team being awarded money which they donate to their chosen charity). We’d gone to visit them and heard about the young people they help, some are not much older than me, and how they’re trying to tackle the root causes of homelessness and ultimately end youth homelessness. Unfortunately we didn’t win so the Rock Trust didn’t receive any money but I thought they were such a worthwhile charity that I really wanted to support them in any small way I could.

I think everyone should have a home where they feel safe and I think it’s really sad that so many don’t, especially when we live in such a prosperous society. As well as a stable place to stay, the Rock Trust offers advice, education and support to some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in our society and gives them a chance to build a better life for themselves, which I think everyone deserves.

Where did the idea for a cookbook come from?

I was talking to Andy who is a Community Fundraiser at the Rock Trust about what opportunities were available to me to support the charity as part of my DoE project. We were thinking of what I could do at home independently and came up with the idea of a cookbook. As well as being useful for the young people the Rock Trust helps, it will hopefully raise some money for the Rock Trust as I’m asking people who download it to consider making a small donation through my JustGiving Page.

Has anything in particular inspired your recipes?

I wanted quick and easy recipes that young people could make, for example at the cookery workshops the Rock Trust runs. I think home-cooked food tastes much better, it’s cheaper and healthier, and cooking is fun! I also wanted a wide variety of recipes so people could try making everything from soup to scones!

Was it difficult to put together?

It wasn’t that difficult to put together, I did most of the cooking over the summer holidays and had it finished by October.

How much do you hope to raise?

I’ve set an initial target of £150 on my JustGiving page (all the money goes straight to the Rock Trust) but I’d like to raise as much as I can because the Rock Trust is such a wonderful charity!

You can download Sophie’s Cookbook and help her raise funds for her DoE project at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sophie-evans06

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