After a tumultuous 18 months, which has seen youth group and Cadet Force activity heavily disrupted, we were pleased to get back to something like normality over the last two weeks as our inaugural Westminster Award expedition to Cornwall took place.
The idea was to combine elements of our spring selection process in Somerset with the expedition that would ordinarily have taken place in South Africa. The result was an educational two-week trip to Cornwall, which merged the best of both worlds to create something memorable and life changing for our finalists.
So what did we do?
We worked with four charities in Cornwall, who provided some incredible experiences for us that would give our young people a unique perspective on the environment both locally and globally.
- ShelterBox, a worldwide charity, educated our young people on humanitarian aid and what it really means to be displaced by disaster or conflict. Our finalists took part in some training designed to simulate elements of what ShelterBox volunteers go through during their selection process
- Cornwall Wildlife Trust developed a brilliant three-day programme of marine surveying, snorkelling and conservation work. The silent disco beach clean and visit to Looe Island was a particular highlight
- The Eden Project told us all about climate change on a global scale, with some hands on experiments in the biomes
- Finally, The National Trust showed us just how much work goes into managing and maintaining some of Cornwall’s natural heritage sites as we volunteered at their Trelissick estate
Of course, there were some traditional Cornish activities such as paddle boarding, coasteering and kayaking interspersed with these projects to give a real perspective on what makes the county so special.
As we turn our attention to the House of Lords celebration in September, our finalists are now busily fundraising for Cornwall Wildlife Trust and ShelterBox. We hope to be able to announce that we have hit our target of £2,000 at the event. If you would like to donate to either of these charities you can do so here.