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Students at the mixed-ability Barrow college are preparing to take on the Langdale Valley in a bid to achieve their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award.

A group of seven students from Beaumont College, located within Barrow Sixth Form College, are working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Awards. The students, who have a range of complex needs including physical disability, cerebral palsy and autism, are preparing to undertake an independent trek through the Langdale Valley later this year. As part of their training, the students are learning map skills and camp cookery.

Beaumont College of Further Education, provides a person-centred curriculum to young people with physical and learning disabilities, ages 19 to 25. The team of students participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards are also members of the Adventure Film Making group run at college by outdoor tutor David Liley, so the trek will be well-documented, with students editing their footage into a final presentation.

Rachel Diss, an Occupational Therapist who established the Duke of Edinburgh awards at Beaumont College, Barrow, said: “I’m really passionate about our students having the opportunity to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. It’s a fantastic way for our students to learn and to develop their independence whilst finding new interests, like map reading and building confidence in their own abilities.

“When out in the wilderness, following a route with a heavy bag on their back, it brings our students a great sense of relief from anxiety, many of whom, ordinarily, might not be expected to fend for themselves. The hardest part for the staff is stepping back and allowing the students to help themselves as a group.”

Aaron, a Barrow student and participant in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, said: “I am proud of what I have achieved being on expedition and have enjoyed working in my team to camp and walk along our route.”

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