Friends of the Award

Supporting Young People to Achieve

FOTA are looking for a new part time member of staff to lead a new expansion of our Youth Development Project, bringing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to underprivileged and marginalised young people around Edinburgh, through partnerships with youth and community organisations, and schools.

Find out more by downloading the Job Description and Application Form below.

This post is supported by the City of Edinburgh Council.

We’re excited to announce our third FREE annual mini-conference for volunteers involved in DofE in the City of Edinburgh Council.

  • Saturday 1 February 2020 10:00-16:00
  • The Risk Factory, 20 New Mart Road, Edinburgh EH14 1RL

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There will be a range of workshops organised by staff and volunteers which aim to share good practice and new ideas, many but not all of them will be expedition related. Scroll down for details of the topics on offer.

There will be regular tea, coffee and biscuits, a free sandwich lunch, and plenty of time to network with other leaders.

Workshop topics

  • Participant-focused expedition planning
  • Bronze Expedition Training Models
  • Teaching Navigation: a simpler and more inclusive approach
  • eDofE support clinic
  • eDofE – recording Expeditions & Green Forms
  • The eDofE App for Participants
  • Assessors Meeting
  • How to get involved: roles & training for new volunteers
  • Teaching First Aid – tips and tricks

Venue details

The Risk Factory, located in Slateford, is easy to access by bike, bus, train or car from most areas of the city. Parking will be very limited.

Get Directions   Book Now

We’re offering an information session for new volunteers who are interested in getting involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Edinburgh.

  • Saturday 1 December, 14:00-16:00
  • The Risk Factory, 20 New Mart Road, Edinburgh EH14 1RL

Book Now

This is part of our DofE Leaders Day, and you’re welcome to come for the whole day if you’d like to take part in some of the other workshops on offer. The afternoon will include:

  • What roles are available and what they involve
  • What training and opportunities we offer
  • The benefits of volunteering with us
  • How to sign up
  • An informal networking session where we can introduce you to some existing volunteers

We’ll be interested in

  • How you would like to help
  • What sort of commitment you want to offer
  • What training you need to allow you to succeed as a volunteer

Opportunities include:

  • DofE Leadership
  • Expedition Supervision
  • Expedition Assessment
  • Kit Store Volunteering

There is outline information on all these roles here.

Booking essential: Book Now

City of Edinburgh Council have launched their new Excursions Policy. If you are a DofE Leader within CEC, please:

  • Read over the new policy
  • Start using the new versions of forms.

There are different versions of the forms for single trips and for programmes of multiple trips. The forms can all be downloaded from our Expedition Resources page.

Friends of the Award are excited to announce they are moving into a new office space. By relocating to The Risk Factory in Chesser, FOTA will have access to modern facilities, providing extended access to the Kit Store as well as a fantastic venue for training courses. FOTA will be hosting an open day in early 2018 to allow volunteers and other interested stakeholders the opportunity to view the new premises.

For over 20 years, FOTA have been providing a range of support for young people to take part in a variety of youth awards including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. More recently FOTA have introduced their own youth achievement award – the Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS). JASS is designed to aid transitions for 5 – 13 year olds. Due to an increase in staffing, FOTA have taken the decision to relocate to a new premises, which will provide modern training facilities as well as extended access to the kit store. These new facilities will allow FOTA to support more young people from Edinburgh and the Lothians to achieve youth awards.

Bob Hope, Chairman of the FOTA Board of Trustees Says: “This exciting relocation will allow our projects to develop stronger links across the city. By using the modern facilities at the Risk Factory, we will be able to bring together more young people and partners, as well as run our training courses to an even higher standard. This will enable FOTA to continue the development of staff and volunteers that is vital to support youth work provision across Edinburgh and the Lothians

The new address will be: FOTA, The Risk Factory, 20 New Mart Road, Edinburgh. EH14 1RL

The FOTA Phone number remains the same: 0131 467 4753

Friends of the Award are celebrating their 20th year of supporting young people from across Edinburgh and the Lothians to complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

This milestone was recognised by Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, who invited the charity to a Reception at the Scottish Parliament on the evening of the 23rd November, 2017. This event was attended by over 50 FOTA trustees, staff members, project partnerships, volunteers, as well as young people and family members from a range of FOTA projects from the last 20 years.

Friends of the Award was set up in 1997 to help make the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) accessible to a broad spectrum of disadvantaged young people across the region. By working closely with the City of Edinburgh Council Outdoor Education Department, as well as partners from a range of provisions across Edinburgh and the Lothians, FOTA are continuing this work across numerous projects including the CAMHS DofE Project, Youth Development Project, Midlothian Schools Project, as well as the Inclusive and Open Expedition provisions. More recently FOTA have introduced their own youth achievement award – the Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS) which aids transitions for 5 – 13 year olds. These awards are accredited programmes designed to promote wider achievement across a range of activities, aimed at developing confident individuals who engage with their community and are able to work as part of a team.

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP says: “Youth development is an incredibly important part of our society. By providing a range of opportunities to complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the Junior Award Scheme for Schools programme, FOTA are improving the skills and confidence of young people from a range of backgrounds across Edinburgh and the Lothians. To have been doing so for 20 years is outstanding, and I wish the charity continued success into the future”.

Peter Wright MBE, Vice-Chair of the FOTA Board says: “Enabling young people to achieve recognition for their own success, and to overcome life`s challenging circumstances along the way has been at the forefront of all that FOTA has done for the past twenty years. Our record in this is outstanding, and a great many young lives have been transformed thereby.”

As the founder of FOTA, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate the organisation on such a worthwhile contribution to youth work in and around Edinburgh, and especially on this notable anniversary. I take much pride in all that FOTA has and continues to do so well, and it is an honour to be able to serve alongside the immense tide of voluntary and professional goodwill that sustains it.”

Friends of the Award are pleased to announce a partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity to offer a range of volunteering opportunities for young people who are participating in the Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS) or the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE).

See the Opportunities

Volunteering offers young people the opportunity to develop a range of key skills that can be used throughout their later life. By developing this partnership with the ECHC, we are offering young people taking part in youth programmes a wider range of opportunities so that they can develop a unique set of skills. All funds raised will go directly into supporting the fantastic work undertaken by the ECHC through projects such as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service’s (CAMHS) Duke of Edinburgh programme, which has been run by FOTA for over 10 years.

It is often noted that finding meaningful volunteering opportunities for young people is difficult. City of Edinburgh Council’s Award Manager, Fraser Robertson, has embraced this opportunity and named ECHC as the charity of choice for fund raising in the coming year. By developing a calendar of events aimed specifically at young people, ECHC have enabled FOTA and the CEC to promote these as unique opportunities to gain a range of useful skills for the young people from Edinburgh and the Lothians. Alongside the calendar of events, ECHC are offering access to their fundraising toolkit which includes ideas and support for young people to set up their own events.

Bob Hope, Chair at FOTA, said: “We are delighted to have Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity on board as our charity partner as it does such vital work for the children and families that visit the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. I would encourage any DofE or JASS participant to consider fund raising with Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity for their volunteering section.

“This includes providing funding to CAMHS – users of which we also work closely with to complete their DoE programme – so it’s fantastic to be teaming up to provide increased support to these services.

“The award helps build young people’s self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-responsibility and the characteristics and skills they take from achieving them are ones they can take with them for life. This is why we feel it is so important to ensure all children no matter what are able to take part.”

Rachel Baxter, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at ECHC, said: “We very much recognise the benefit of our two charities working together to support young people across the city.

“Not only will this be of huge support to us, as it will increase our number of volunteers for our fundraising activities, but we will also be able to donate further funds to CAMHS services.

“The extra support provided by FOTA to help children who may otherwise not get to take part in the DoE or JASS awards is hugely admirable, and we’re very much looking forward to all the exciting things that this partnership bring in the future.”

With it being the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award it was only fitting that the theme for our AGM was “Celebrating Volunteering”. As an advocate of volunteering himself, we were invited to hold our AGM in the City Chambers curtsy of the Lord Provost – Rt. Hon. Donald Wilson. This was a fantastic opportunity to invite volunteers both current and past along to celebrate this fantastic milestone especially after another busy expedition season.

It is interesting to note the different levels of volunteering that take place across Edinburgh that allows the continued access to the Duke of Edinburgh award for young people, from those on Boards and as Trustees for charities that work with young people – such as ourselves at FOTA, to those who run the sessions on a weekly basis – be they teachers giving up their lunch breaks or office-workers giving up their evenings. Alongside these there are many that give up precious summer weekends to supervise or assess groups whilst out on their expeditions across the country, and those that help FOTA through other means such as keeping the Kit Store in order, or at our events throughout the year.

It was great to hear what it was that drew a wide variety of individuals into volunteering in the first place, as well as how often these volunteering opportunities gave so much to the leaders as well as the young people they worked with – be it through developing additional skills and qualifications, or through the friendships with other leaders that have lasted decades. If ever there was a ringing endorsement to volunteer, this is it.

This evening was also a chance to celebrate some of the achievements of the young people we work with, with sectional certificates being handed out to worthy DofE participants as well as a #SuperstarSupporter certificate for our friends at Sciennes Primary School who have helped to develop our JASS award since its first inception in 2009. Without their hardwork and commitment, JASS would not be where it is today. A huge congratulations goes to Chris who was awarded his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award on the evening also, possibly completing the fastest award turn-around from the DofE Scotland office as they received the paperwork earlier that day! It was clear to see what this meant to all involved by the smile on Chris’ face.

Needless to say that the DofE in Edinburgh would not be as successful as it is without any of these individuals, and once again we say a huge Thank You to you all. For many the hard work hasn’t stopped just because it is no longer the expedition season, in fact it has only just begun again. If you would like to know how you can help over the winter then please get in contact with the FOTA team.