Open Award Centre Project: Dan Rogers and Sarann West, Carmarthenshire Youth Support Service
Carmarthenshire Youth Support Service (CYSS) is the licenced organisation for Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) activities in Carmarthenshire, through which schools offer the award. CYSS has School Based Youth Workers in every secondary school, including Heol Goffa. Heol Goffa is a school for young people with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and those with varying physical and mental disabilities. Young People at Heol Goffa have traditionally only been able to access Bronze DoE opportunities through school. Through partnership working and the continued support of CYSS, Heol Goffa was able to extend its offer to include the Silver and Gold awards. The Open Award Centre Project, led by youth workers, opened the doors for school staff, young people, and youth workers to be able to explore, participate and widen experiences in relation to the award and provided a myriad of additional personal, social and educational experiences and opportunities for the young people, both within their local communities and wider afield.
The project has removed barriers faced by young people with ALN & physical/mental disabilities to accessing opportunities to complete their DoE award at all levels on an equal par with their peers.
The judging panel highlighted how the ethos of this project has succeeded in embedding the principles, purposes and approaches of youth work alongside the educational framework of a formal school setting. It is considered a truly excellent example of youth work that ensures opportunities for young people are access accessible and inclusive.