HUNDREDS of youngsters made the community proud by scoping their Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.

Pupils, parents, volunteers, teachers and council staff gathered to celebrate the achievement – which marked a 100 percent increase in the programme in the past three years, making East Ayrshire one of the fastest growing local authorities in Scotland in delivering the programme.

Over 600 young people started a Bronze, Silver or Gold DofE programme in 2018/19, with almost 200 bronze, silver and gold accolades awarded on the night.

Barry Fisher, Director for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Scotland, said “It is amazing to see what young people in East Ayrshire have achieved this year.

“They have much to be proud of in achieving their DofE Awards and it is my hope that the skills they developed by taking part stand them in good stead in their future endeavours.

“We are working hard to close the achievement gap for young people with barriers to participation and East Ayrshire’s success in this area is a real credit to the council’s DofE team.”

Those who achieve a DofE Award will volunteer, learn a skill, get fit, and plan and undertake an expedition in the great outdoors.

Widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people , DofE programmes enable any young person, aged 14-24, to develop key skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment and team working.

Young people from Doon Academy spoke powerfully of how much their award has meant to them. They described the very positive experiences they have gone through, the selfconfidence they have gained and, perhaps most importantly, the connection they have made with their community through their volunteering.