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Duke of Edinburgh Awards, making a difference

by Jo Bates, our founder

After an incredibly tough two years, many of us are now delighted to meet-up with friends, volunteer and even learn a new skill.

Of course, things have been especially difficult for children, so many of whom have had their education and social development disrupted. At Thumbsie, we are always eager to promote all aspects of a healthy childhood – including physical and mental.

That’s one of the key reasons why we are huge supporters of the DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) Scheme.

I was delighted when I was approached by my daughter’s friend, Ruby, to be her Assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh “new skills” section. I’ve always been a keen baker and now Ruby wants to learn this skill for herself.  The “new skill” section is one of three activities that need to be completed, along with an expedition, in order to gain the Bronze award. The other sections are “physical” and “volunteering”, and each section lasts three months.

For Ruby, I will be setting challenges each week – and unashamedly taking some ideas from the Great British Bake Off! The three months will end with an “Easter Cake Show”. I can hardly wait.

I’m pleased to say my daughter, Izzy, is also doing her DofE Bronze award and is volunteering as a dog walker with a friend. Good luck to Ruby, Izzy and all others taking on the DofE this year.

Duke of Edinburgh skills challenge for Ruby

The DofE Awards are a fantastic scheme which have helped thousands of young people gain in confidence, learn new skills and develop into independent adults. It’s hard to believe that this year will be their 66th birthday!

Of course, this year more than any other, it is so important for young people to get involved in extracurricular activities and to engage in tasks which can help reduce record levels of anxiety and loneliness. The way that young people can learn, grow and achieve great things through schemes such as the DofE is a joy to behold.

The DofE website says, “we believe in young people, in their innate value and infinite potential.” This is a message that all of us at Thumbsie totally support.

Many young people start Duke of Edinburgh with low self-confidence and are not sure they will be able to finish the scheme. The same is often true for thumb sucking. Children who suck their thumbs for years often believe they won’t be able to stop, or that they will not see the “scheme” through to the end. One of the best parts of our work, is to see children growing in confidence and realise that, yes, they can do it! They can overcome challenges. They can stick to long term goals. And, yes, they can stop thumb sucking.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting photos of some of Ruby’s bakes on social media to show the progress she is making. I hope they get your mouth watering. It should be a fun experience for all.

Take care,



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