Leeds ,

Royal recognition for Herd Farm support of Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Representatives from Leeds’ very own youth activity centre, Herd Farm, were given a royal welcome when they were invited to attend a celebration event for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Herd Farm, which is run by Leeds City Council, has run the Duke of Edinburgh programme for the last three years and currently offers young people opportunity to take part in all three awards - Bronze, Silver and Gold.

The invitation-only event in the Buckingham Palace gardens was part of the scheme’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

More than 1,000 young people from across the country were presented with their awards by around 60 celebrities including Anna Friel, Ben Cohen, Ronan Keating and Anton du Beke, who had all been drafted in to help Prince Philip and the Earl and Countess of Wessex hand out badges and certificates.

Tony Edwards, Herd Farm’s centre manager and Neil Bowden, the council’s youth service projects manager were invited to attend the ceremony alongside one young Leeds Duke of Edinburgh participant Catherine Stephens, 17, and her mum Julie and dad Paul.

The West Yorkshire group was hosted by ‘Yorkshire Rows’ – the four inspirational Yorkshire women who recently broke the world record as the oldest women to cross the Atlantic in a rowing boat. The Yorkshire Rows rowers presented Herd Farm with a plaque in recognition of the work it does to support young people through the Duke of Edinburgh programme.

Catherine was awarded her certificate in front of the group for completing the Gold Award, she said:

"Attending the Gold award presentation in Buckingham palace gardens was a great way to celebrate completing my D of E journey. I couldn't have done it without my friends and all the support of the fantastic team from Herd Farm. It's been challenging but great fun and has given me the confidence to achieve things I never thought I could do."

The Earl of Wessex met the West Yorkshire group and spoke about some of the individual achievements.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive member for children and families said:

“This was a fantastic opportunity for Herd Farm, and great recognition for the hard work and dedication that young people must show when doing the Duke of Edinburgh award. I would encourage as many young people in Leeds to give it a try, not only does it encourage young people to push themselves, it teaches them life skills and widens their future opportunities.”

Herd Farm is a licensed provider of the Duke of Edinburgh programme. Young people who take part are able to develop a host of skills that can make them more employable as well as helping with social skills and confidence. The project helps young people work as a team, encourages leadership and builds resilience.

Since opening in 2000, the converted barn set in 16 acres that is Herd Farm has been making a difference to children’s and young people’s lives by letting them develop skills and build confidence through challenging indoor and outdoor activities. The 16 acre activity centre borders with Harewood Estate and is owned and run by Leeds City Council. It provides a safe and inclusive environment for children of all ages and abilities with dedicated staff.