Duke of Edinburgh's Award
We'll help you plan an unforgettable and successful expedition for your group
Birkheads Wild is licenced to deliver the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to young people in Gateshead. DofE helps young people build life-long belief in themselves, supporting them to take on their own challenge If you are in Year 9 or older and are wanting to take part in this exciting Award. Please get in touch to find out more.
Do DofE! Choose the things you love to do or try something completely new, help your community, test your limits, enhance your skills, and grow your confidence. It’s your DofE and we’ll support you to do it your way.
We are trying to make it easy for young people across Gateshead to take part in the Award, particularly if they might not otherwise get chance to participate in the scheme at school. Our team guides and supports the young people through the award
Doing your DofE at Birkheads Wild is different – you meet new people and make new friends from different schools, we meet outdoors round the campfire or in the yurt, and we link you up to volunteering opportunities and skills you can achieve here or through our projects.
DofE is a prestigious and well-recognised programme of leadership and outdoor skills for young people - colleges, Universities and Employers all recognise and value the programme, and this has the potential to be life changing for some young people who struggle in a classroom. Our DofE programme is a little different to some of those which run in a schools as its for young people who face multiple barriers to participating in DofE in a school setting. It’s based on the following principles:
- A more relaxed setting than school, and based almost entirely outdoors here at Birkheads Wild – with a mix of young people from several schools across Gateshead, and some who don’t (or can't) attend mainstream school due to SEND or SEMH needs . We are also able to give the young people more personalised support to achieve their potential due to smaller group sizes. We run 15 to 20 training and support sessions on Thursday evenings for the groups across the year, and a Practice and Qualifying Expedition (1 night and 2 days at Bronze level and 2 nights and 3 days at Silver).
- ‘Pay what you can afford’ – some schools charge over £100 per person for the Bronze programme. We ask parents/carers to make a donation if they can to help towards the cost of the programme and the expeditions. There is no minimum or maximum donation. We also fundraise and ask the young people to help fundraise where they are able. In 2023 we raised over £5,000 towards the cost of the programme. We don’t want family finances to be a reason why our young people don’t get to do DofE. We have a kit and equipment Library too so we help out with any kit needed to ensure families aren't out of pocket on buying a huge Kit List for DofE.
- Aiming high for unique and unusual Expeditions – we know that the Expedition is often one of the most memorable parts of ‘doing DofE’. We aim to make sure we create unforgettable expeditions for some young people who would not otherwise get this opportunity through our fundraising efforts. Our Bronze group went to the Lake District last summer and several of the young people had not been outside of the North East before! 2 out of 12 of them had never slept in a tent before! The 2023 Bronze group expedition will be to the Lake District with 1 day walking and 1 day canoeing and the 2023 Silver group to be Cycling a route from 'Scotland to St Mary's Lighthouse' over 3 days.
A unique, local choice
Our site is an ideal base for Bronze level expeditions - we have also hosted Silver level expeditions, and if your school or Youth Group is in Gateshead or Durham you may even be able to walk here from School - saving you transport costs and further logistics to sort out.
£10 per person per night with a minimum spend of £100 per night for a DofE group. All the money we make from camping fees helps support young people to take part in our own DofE programme
What our visitors say...
"Great place for a DofE Bronze practice or qualifier. Walks straight from the camp site and plenty of footpaths. Fiona is so enthusiastic and helpful you couldn't be in better hands. The place is tranquil and you wouldn't realise that you are just outside the hustle and bustle of the major conurbations of the north east"
Steve Southern, Operations Officer for Newcastle, Gateshead & Hartlepool, DofE North
"Lovely atmosphere and a great place for DofE!"
Leah & Chloe, Y10
"Amazing people and amazing place"
"Cute campsite with a very welcoming feeling"
Oxclose Community Academy, Washington, Y9
"Your site is awesome and you helped me start a fire and gave me some helpful tips that I will use again"
If you want to learn more or to book a place please get in touch...