Labour Action Teams meet youngsters opposing the axing of the Du

Sefton Central labour MP Bill Esterson and Labour Action Team leaders including Patrick McKinley, Marion Atkinson and Cllr Tony Carr meet Sefton DofE Committee chairman Tom Sefton, award organisers and participants


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson and Labour Action Teams from throughout the borough heard first hand from Duke of Edinburgh Award participants why the scheme should be saved.

Bill and Labour Action Team leaders met with young people from Sefton who are currently taking part in the scheme.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors voted to axe the £77,000 funding for the scheme. There is nearly 1,000 young people who are about to receive certificates after completing the course.

Bill said the scheme was too valuable not to continue.

He said: "There is 1,000 young people there who have benefited from the scheme this year alone. The skills which they have learned are invaluable to them and will help them throughout their lives.

"Not only that, but the Duke of Edinburgh Awards look fantastic on young people's CVs. They show that the young person has the commitment and drive to go the extra mile and take part in a scheme which benefits them as well as their local community.

"It is a brilliant thing to be involved in, but now the Tories and Lib Dems are axing it - that opportunity won't be open to the thousands of young people in the future who would benefit from it."

Formby mum and teacher, Ravenmeols Ward Labour candidate, Catie Page said: "Being a teacher I have seen lots of children wand young people who have really benefited from Duke of Edinburgh. It gives youngsters lots of confidence and it also engages them in worthwhile activities which are beneficial to the community and to the young people themselves.


"Axing the scheme is a false economy and will be a mistake in the long term."



Former Formby High pupil Ben Bentley who is standing for Labour in Harington Ward said: "I totally oppose the axing of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. Lots of people from Formby have taken part in the award and stuck with it throughout the years to go from bronze through to gold.


"In fact I've got friends who took part in the scheme and they all say they found it thoroughly rewarding. It is outrageous that the Tories and Lib Dems are willing to just bring that to an end for so many young people."

Molyneux Ward Labour candidate Marion Atkinson who lives in Aintree said: "Not only are these cuts depriving our children of the physical skills and stamina gained from being involved in the award, it is also depriving them of the ability to gain confidence, gain effective communication skills but most importantly gain friends.
"The award builds relationships between individuals and also encourages team work which is an important part of our children's development. It is essential for our children to have these skills it makes them more employable and an asset within our communities.
"The young people I met at the fire station today were well mannered, courteous and really cared about their futures. They wanted to be active and be part of a team. They feared the axing of the DEA would make them inactive, bored and frustrated.
"One of the young people also helped out in the Brownies and Girl Guides. She appreciates the benefits of being involved in such groups and feels really gutted for the younger children who will have nothing to look forward to once these facilities are axed."

Sudell Ward Labour candidate Patrick McKinley who lives in the ward said: "Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme cuts are another example of Tory-Lib Dem inspired cuts, slash and burn without a consideration of the social impact.

"This programme costs about £100 per candidate and has proven to change young people's lives for the better.

"This just demonstrates how callous the Conservative and Liberal Democrats' approach is. They know the price of everything but they know the value of nothing."

Molyneux Ward Labour councillor Tony Carr who lives in Melling said: "I have been approached by scores of young people and parents who are nothing short of outraged that the Lib Dem and the Tories have brought down the axe on the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

"The skills these young people pick up from the award puts them in good stead for the rest of their lives, including giving them an advantage when they go into the world of work.

"By axing the scheme, the Tories and Lib Dems are disadvantaging our children and destroying a worthwhile and fulfilling activity which they enjoy. What will these young people do without it?"

Manor Ward Labour candidate Diane Roberts said: "It's a total disgrace that the young people of Crosby are being targeted by the Tories and Lib Dems like this.


"The Duke of Edinburgh scheme is very popular with hundreds of young people from throughout Sefton taking part every year. The money invested in the scheme is not a lot in the scheme of things, but a lot of people get a lot out of it.


"I totally oppose this cut and I encourage everyone in Crosby to make their opposition heard."



Blundellsands Labour candidate Ben Winstanley said: "With my role in further education, I see the true value the Duke of Edinburgh Award has with young people every day.  It helps young people establish valuable life skills with work experience, team work and the contribution and service they came have on their community.  It also helps young people build a CV to be in a better position when applying for work or moving into further education. 

"Abolishing this project is yet another serious blow to the development and support we provide our young people.  The Tories and Lib Dems are taking away EMA, the Future Job Fund, Sure Start Centres and imposing scandalously high tuition fees.  The community I live in, and the rest of the country, depends on the constructive development of our young people, we should be investing in their development and providing all the support we can to generate a productive, resourceful and energetic generation.  The removal of the Duke of Edinburgh Award is just another damaging blow this government is imposing onto our young and onto our country’s future success."


Manor Ward Labour councillor Steve McGinnity said: "Over the years, thousands of people in Crosby have participated in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. That's lots of young people who have benefited from the experience and built up new skills on the back of it.


"The Duke of Edinburgh scheme is too valuable to be axed and I call on the Lib Dems and the Tories to see sense and reverse their decision to cut the funding."



Park Ward Labour councillor Kris Brown said: "The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is recognised as the world's leading achievement for young people and it is of massive importance to people in Sefton. 


"If Sefton were to cut DofE from its budget, the effects would be massive for young people and volunteers alike. At present it is a thriving and highly successful initiative and without Sefton Council’s support the award would suffer dramatically."

The Labour teams had the chance to hear from the DofE participants themselves why the scheme should be saved from the Tory-Lib Dem axe.

John Shaw, 16,  told the Labour teams: "I don’t think closing youth clubs and activities down will save much money because there will be a rise in crime on the streets because kids and teenagers won’t have anywhere to go, which means you will have to pay for more police patrols in areas like Liverpool which if happens losing youth clubs for children who don’t have anything to do.

"But keeping youth clubs open will benefit as then you could cut the police on the streets because most teenagers use services like DofE and Netherton Activity Centre more people have become aware of youth clubs and have started using them more.

"Taking away the Duke of Edinburgh Award will be the biggest mistake. I like the scheme because it keeps people out of trouble and keeps communities proud knowing there’s good people who care and don’t want to waste their life.

"Why spoil it for us kids? What should happen is footballers' wages should be lowered as they get way too much money a day, then the money that is saved should go to fund DofE. I am sure they won’t mind.

"I think that the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government hasn't shown us any respect as they broke their promise with university fees also they seem to care more for other countries than us. If they really want to help why don’t both parties chip in their MPs' money to help the crisis."

Sarah Armstrong, 16, said: "I have been participating in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme for three years and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I like being with all my friends and I can’t believe people are thinking of taking my hobby and this fantastic club away from me and my friends."

Liam Southern, 18, said: "I have been attending the Duke of Edinburgh Award in Buckley Hill Fire Station for three years now and I have noticed that doing things like this helps young people develop character and leadership, keeping them focused and giving them goals."

Rachael Bannon, 17, said: "I am currently attending the Duke of Edinburgh and have been for a year and a half.

"Attending the Duke of Edinburgh has taught me many important skills in life and I will learn more, so it will be a disgrace for us to lose this opportunity. I have made a lot of new friends here and this has helped me develop my confidence.

"The Duke of Edinburgh keeps young people out of trouble and if it goes, then the crime rate will rise costing more money in the long run."

Jess Byrne, 17, added: "I have been attending Duke of Edinburgh for about a year and half now and I am outraged they would want to take this away from us. Duke of Edinburgh has encouraged me to do a lot of new things and I have become more confident. It would be a big mistake to get rid of it.

Sarah Bellamy, 23, added: "I have been attending DofE since September 2010 and I think it’s really important for young people to have something to focus on. I think it is insulting to take away funding for youth services, I feel they are only targeting young people with these cuts as they do not class them as important."

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