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Inverness youngsters benefit from Duke of Edinburgh's Award cash grants

By Alasdair Fraser

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EIGHT autistic children from the Inverness area are benefiting from two grants from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) diamond fund.

City-based Reach4Reality, an outdoor activites charity for young people with communication difficulties, secured two grants to boost efforts to acquire DofE qualifications for the youngsters.

The DofE award encourages self-improvement through voluntary work, skills, physical activities and expeditions and is viewed as valuable in pursuing future careers in adult life.

One grant funded the purchase of two tablet computers which have made it easier for the young people to compile blogs and record evidence of their achievements.

The second grant has funded Reach4Reality’s annual DofE licence for 2019, and also part-funded staffing costs.

The diamond fund is made up of £1.5 million raised by more than 15,000 supporters who took part in the DofE’s Diamond Challenge, celebrating the charity’s diamond anniversary in 2016.

Reach4Reality’s DofE manager Sylvia Longbottom said the project was enabling young people with autism to develop life-changing skills such as communication, resilience and teamwork.

She said: “Most of the young people we work with would not get the opportunity to work towards their DofE awards because their schools are unable to give them the support they need, while some are home-schooled.

“It is amazing to see their sense of pride and achievement.”

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