In 2014, Derwen College became Shropshire’s first educational facility to provide students with special educational needs and disabilities the opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. In the time since, our dedicated team have celebrated 146 Bronze Awards, 116 Silver Awards, and 48 Gold Awards.

The college aims to make the Award accessible to all students, regardless of income. The Gold Award costs over £1000 per student. Students are asked to pay a contribution and the college fundraises to cover the shortfall. For the 2023-24 students, the college was left with a hefty shortfall of over £10,000.

Since the inception of the college’s programme, we have had tremendous support from local Freemason lodges, rotary clubs and charities. This year, again, we are delighted to say they have not let our students down and we have received some incredibly generous donations to support our students through the programme. Our thanks go to:

  • Cae Glas Lodge
  • Fitzalan Lodge
  • Shropshire Masons Charitable Association
  • Oswestry Lions Club
  • Rotary Club of Oswestry Cambrian
  • The Wynn Foundation

The college is incredibly grateful for the overwhelming amount of support given by each of these associations.

In addition, there have been a number of grants awarded to assist with the cost of providing specialist kits and equipment to support the students as they work their way through different areas and levels of the award programme. We are very grateful to both of the following organisations for their support.

  • The Shropshire Youth Foundation
  • Duke of Edinburgh’s Access Without Limits funding scheme

The Basil Houghton Memorial Trust has also been a major supporter of the college and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme since its inception with regular, life-changing donations to help our young people. Due to a recent generous donation from the Trust, the college was able to construct a bespoke outdoor centre for all of our students to take advantage of. As well as providing an all-weather space for the DofE students to practice their skills in, the centre will also allow other students to take advantage of the benefits of learning in an outdoor environment. Already, students in the college’s Learning for Life Pathway have enjoyed several yoga sessions in the fresh air.

It is thanks to the support of generous, kind individuals and organisations that our students have been able to access and experience the benefits of undertaking the challenges the DofE Awards brings. Our students have been able to develop confidence and skills they would, previously, have only been able to dream about.

Derwen College now has a dedicated Duke of Edinburgh Centre equipped with a canoe simulator, woodland campfire experience, and terrain simulation area where students are able to develop their strength and confidence for expeditions. A massive thank you to all our supporters for making this possible.

Derwen College’s Duke of Edinburgh Coordinator, Steve Evans, said, “The fruits of these efforts will be on full display on 13 July, as Derwen College hosts its annual DofE Awards Ceremony. Every year the ceremony gives everybody involved in the programme the opportunity to see just how much the Award means to the students, and the smiles on their faces are worth every penny.”

Derwen College relies on donations to provide industry-leading care. The college’s award-winning Duke of Edinburgh programme is a vital and unique component its holistic approach to student wellbeing. If you would like to add your name to the list of the programme’s incredible supporters, please visit for more information.