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SSA student rewarded by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for resilience club idea

A student from South Shore Academy (SSA), who set up a school club to boost resilience has been hailed by the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award scheme.

Corron, 15, from SSA is one of just nine DofE participants, nationally, chosen to participate in the scheme’s reward – a masterclass with professional photographers, to give young people a chance to tell stories.

The Blackpool youngster was chosen due to his work in setting up and leading a resilience club at SSA which he designed to help new starters and other pupils have a safe space to build confidence and feel supported. The club offers pupils a place to meet and socialise with a range of activities, as well as to talk about mental health issues and wellbeing.

When Corron began his DofE Bronze Award in Year 10, he used the club as part of the volunteering task which also provided opportunities for other children to take part in volunteering to help them achieve their DofE Award. As a result, Corron was chosen to participate in a film promoting the DofE Award and then won a place on the photography course.

Corron, who also helps his mum care for his twin sisters who have learning disabilities, said: “When I came to high school, I was really nervous and worried. There was the overall fear about being in a bigger place, loads of classrooms and the independence, it was a big change from primary. In Year 8, I came up with the idea of forming the club and we started with other students and teachers.”

The club really took off and has around 30 members, doing teamwork activities, talking about transitioning to new schools and what would be beneficial to help students.

Miss Leach, PE/DofE Teacher at SSA, said: “A lot of the children were quite nervous or shy and the club offered activities but also the chance to simply chat, talk about things in a safe place, play bingo together or just eat lunch together. It’s been really amazing.”

Half-way through the DofE Award course, Miss Leach asked if a few students would like to tell their stories and a film crew were sent to capture their experiences. Corron’s story was so powerful as he had overcome so much to achieve his club that they told him about the DofE Award photography course.

Corron said: “A few weeks later a huge Nikon camera worth £500 arrived, and every Thursday I joined the online course to gain skills. They are planning to make an exhibition later this year.”

Miss Leach added: “The Duke of Edinburgh Award started in school three years ago and is fully embedded now, giving lots of young people opportunities they would not otherwise get.

“Corron has been amazing as have other students who have helped out in resilience club, gaining so many life skills.”

A DofE Award spokesman said: “Corron is amazing in all he has achieved. We have a five-year strategy of reaching out to a million young people across the UK…The resilience fund we have to help schools is part of that, we are delighted that Corron has been able to take part in the DofE due to that fund and we cannot wait to see what he achieves next.”

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