A YEAR after his passing, dignitaries gathered at Clotworthy House in Antrim Castle Gardens last Friday to officially launch the Council’s Duke of Edinburgh Legacy Bursary Scheme.
The Bursary scheme, in memory of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh arose from a motion proposed by Councillor Leah Smyth and approved by Council in April 2021.
The aim of the scheme, is to enable, encourage and empower our youth by providing an annual bursary of up to £1,000.
A total of twenty bursaries are available for young people in the Borough aged from 11 to 25-years-old.
The bursary can be used to purchase equipment and to fund further training, tuition or personal development courses.
The scheme will provide an opportunity for young people to develop their personal and life skills through a 10-week programme of activities where they will learn about social issues, good relations, leadership and volunteering.
Participants will also be provided with the opportunity to experience volunteering in a practical way, within a local community or voluntary organisation.
Taster sessions in health and well-being, money management, cookery, sports, arts, environment and IT will also be on offer.
Lord -Lieutenant for County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell and Vice Lord-Lieutenant Mrs Miranda Gordon DL, joined the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Billy Webb at the launche event last week.
The Lord-Lieutenant for County Antrim offered his congratulations to the Council for this initiative and said “The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme made a difference to millions of lives empowering young people to overcome obstacles and build confidence and resilience.
“I am sure His Royal Highness would approve of this Bursary Scheme which will help our youth to develop personal and life skills and open up opportunities for them to build a brighter future.”
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Billy Webb said: “I am absolutely delighted to officially launch the Council’s Duke of Edinburgh Legacy Bursary Scheme as a tribute to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.
“ I would encourage those of you who work with or meet young people through your daily work to consider nominating them or signposting them to apply for this very worthwhile bursary”.
Councillor Leah Smyth said that ‘a wave of devastation engulfed the region’ at the news of the Duke’s passing.
“As chair of the Duke of Edinburgh Working Group, it is an honour for me to be here as we launch the scheme.” she said.
“Prince Philip was a remarkable man, his establishment of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards has had a massive, positive impact on the lives of many young people.
“I’m incredibly proud that we have created our own bursary as a legacy to Duke of Edinburgh here in our Borough which will enable our young people to learn new skills, volunteer, gain self-confidence, make a difference in their community and follow their passion.
“I would like to thank my colleagues for supporting my motion last year and also to say a massive thank you to the working group.”
Jodie Ireland, a volunteer from Monkstown Boxing Club and a recipient of the Mrs Joan Christie Bursary, made a closing speech to a captive audience detailing how the Bursary she received from the council was a lifeline for her, enabling her to buy specialist equipment which due to her failing eyesight was fundamental for her to complete her studies.
Jodie, who was born with Cerebral Palsy went on to pass 11 GCSEs and is now acting as a youth mentor for other young people, having once been too nervous to leave her home.
Applications/nominations for the scheme are now open and will close on Friday 3 June. All applications/nominations must be made online at https://consultations.antrimandnewtownabbey.
Council also confirmed last week that designs are now being considered for a statue of the Duke at Antrim Castle Gardens.