21 May 2019

Garstang Community Academy will have taken approximately 600 students through The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award of which some 100 students are currently working towards achieving before leaving school.  The Academy offers the annual opportunity for up to 60 students in year 9 (age 13/14) to access the D of E Bronze level Award.


The Award has substantial international credibility for Colleges, Universities and future Employers. Students who take up this opportunity gain first hand life skills which they may never otherwise have access to at this young age – such as planning, organizing, sticking with an activity no matter what and team building.


The Bronze level requires students to undertake a 2 day and 1 night journey independent of adults and modern day comforts. To achieve this, they need tents, cooking stoves, sleeping bags, suitable clothing, rainwear, footwear and food to sustain them.  In addition, they need a large rucksack to carry all the gear! 


Most students come away with fantastic memories of the first time they camped and cooked a meal with their friends and achieved a challenge which they never thought they’d be able to do


Students are encouraged to obtain their own personal clothing and footwear, but many find it difficult to access the specialized equipment such as tents, cooking equipment and rucksacks. 


In the past the Academy was able to borrow the specialized equipment from Lancashire County Council. Due to changes in LCC, they are no longer able to do this. Since the loss of this facility the Academy has been able to obtain enough tents and rucksacks to satisfy their needs. There was a major shortfall in the availability of D of E recommended cooking stoves.


This resulted in the Academy approaching the Rotary Club of Garstang & Over Wyre to see if they could sponsor the supply of 10, Trangias cooking stoves at a cost of £70 each.


A joint meeting was held and the Academy provided details of their work to date on the Bronze Award complete with video data. It was provisionally agreed to provide sponsorship but it was necessary to seek support from the Rotary District which deals with over 70 Rotary Clubs throughout Cumbria and Lancashire. The arrangement was fully agreed at the end of April 2019.


On the afternoon of May 9th on the Academy Sports Field a final external dry run for students taking the Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze award this year was organized. This involved pitching tents, and cooking an evening meal on the Trangia cooking stoves. Members of Rotary were invited to attend this activity.


The Academy Principal Alasdair Ashcroft welcomed the guests from the Garstang Rotary Club and said “The school governors, myself, my colleagues and the students are most grateful for the generosity displayed by Rotary in sponsoring the supply of the specialized D of E recommended Trangia camping stoves. They will be used by students undertaking this award for many years to come.”


In reply Rotarian Steve Iles said “We are delighted at being able to help the Academy, which is such an important part of our local community it is my pleasure today to hand over the 10 Trangia camping stoves on behalf of the Rotary Club of Garstang & Over Wyre. This is part of our commitment the students in the local community. We admire the effort of the members of your staff who provide the necessary assistance, training and supervision for this truly excellent work in pursuit of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award for so many students”

Garstang Community Academy is also putting forward a team of boys and a team of girls to take part in a Football Tournament organised by Preston South Rotary Club. It is planned to take place on Friday May 17th at the UCLAN Sports facilities on Tom Benson Way, Preston. The Rotary Club of Garstang & Over Wyre is providing sponsorship for the Academy’s participation.