Open Letter to the SMEs of Doncaster. Re: The Duke of Edinburgh's Awards

by Rejus, 10th December 2021

RE: Rejus Commits to 10 Year Sponsorship with Duke of Endingburgh's Award

Original article: Rejus Enters 10 Year Sponsorship with Duke of Edinburgh Award & Campsmount Academy

I am absolutely delighted to announce that we have committed to a 10-year partnership with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) charity at Campsmount Academy in Doncaster! The DofE is recognised internationally and has true value for the experience and confidence gained by students, most importantly for getting them ready for the world of work.

It has been a very personal journey for me, stemming from my own childhood experiences during a tough time for many in a mining area, to our children going to the same school as myself and their experiences.

My wife and I are longstanding supporters of education. Myself being a governor of the DN Colleges Group for a number of years; my wife continuing her role as a Chair of various Trusts across Doncaster. We’ve been involved and supported business-led initiatives to engage with schools and students. When we recognised an opportunity where we could help a school directly, through the DofE, and where there was an emotional connection, we seized that opportunity. 

Rejus representatives at Campsmount Academy

I went to Campsmount School many years ago, and I did the DofE Award with perhaps 10 in total from mixed year groups. I had loads of fun, learnt a huge amount, met some great people, challenged myself and I will forever be grateful, and also humbled that I could do it, where others could not.

So, when our daughter was at the age to do her DofE, we encouraged her do it. She refused to do it, as it was seen as elitist and would have caused ridicule. Our son did do it, which is where our involvement came in. I was amazed to see that 40 years on the same reasons for not doing it still existed with only small numbers participating. Your peers, criticising and ridiculing you for trying to succeed at something, or perhaps just fearful of failure, or most likely, financial constraints or not recognising the value.

So, following much discussion with DofE, and a forward-thinking school Head, we came up with the idea of doing a full-year 9 sponsorship, every student does it, and it's paid for by Rejus.

This was 4 years ago.

In 4 years we've seen numbers increase 8 fold and rising. Last year the school came 32nd in the north of England for delivering charitable hours in the community. This year we are set to become 7th.” Just to put that in context, that includes all the public schools, military schools, cadets. Some achievement for an ex-mining community! The message being to the kids, that you can achieve, you can compete, you can be the best, let alone the personal development that is intrinsic to the Award. Our students are as good as anyone else’s, they just don’t get the opportunity to show it. Wouldn't it be great if we came first, or the region came first!

In terms of the school, their team have been truly amazing, they have embraced it and made it part of their Aspire Programme which is a scheme that encourages, recognises and rewards extra-curricular activity. It has true value recognised by schools, universities, and the workplace. Still more work to do, but it’s having a positive effect on the students and our wider community.

I believe more than ever, that for those of us being in a position to help, that we should be the ones who make change happen. We have now agreed a 10-year partnership with the D of E, committing to the full-year 9 approach, but also supporting those students who want to progress onto Silver and Gold DofE Awards. We did not know it at the time, but we are the first SME in the UK to support the charity in this way.

Good things come from truly great students and truly great schools!

Thank you.

- Kind Regards, Mathew Lynds.

Director of Rejus Ltd.

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