Duke of Edinburgh Award celebrates 60 years with a special challenge for you

Duke of Edinburgh Award celebrates 60 years with a special challenge for you
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If, like us, your new Year's goals to eat less chocolate or hit the gym every day have already started to fall by the wayside, it may be time to rethink your ambitions for the year ahead.

According to research, more than four in 10 of us would like a new adventure for 2016, while 56 per cent of us would like to learn something new. But we know getting started and channeling your intentions in the right direction isn't always easy.

However, this January, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, which has been helping youngsters achieve amazing things for the past six decades, is opening up a new initiative called the Diamond Challenge to encourage people of all ages to take on new experiences and dare to try something completely different. The Diamond Challenge marks 60 years since HRH The Duke of Edinburgh Award's set up the award in 1956.

Whether it's climbing a mountain or learning how to dance, volunteering in your local community or conquering a fear of heights, the Challenge is all about recognising new achievements and getting you out of your routine. It's split into an Adventure, Personal or Skill, meaning you can pick whatever you think will most benefit you, with all the support of the Duke of Edinburgh Award behind you, which over the years has helped millions of young people develop tenacity, commitment and determination through a series of challenges.

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So far thousands of people have alraedy signed up to the Diamond Challenge, along with some famous faces, including impressionist Jon Culshaw and presenters Julia Bradbury and Davina McCall.

For Pam Rigby, 53, she's making the Diamond Challenge  a really personal mission: "I collected my Gold Award in 1993 from St James' Palace with my Father. I have also been involved in running and assessing the Award since about 1986 and have been a DofE Development Officer for 6 years. For my Diamond Challenge I will be doing a Sprint Triathlon in May 2016.

"I thought I would do this in memory of my Father who sadly passed away suddenly in May 2015. Two of his favourite sports were swimming and cycling so I thought a triathlon would be the right thing to do. Although I swim and canoe, this will be a bit of a couch potato to triathlete in 7 months, as I haven't been very active recently!”

Meanwhile Dot Hasler, 70, is using the new challenge as an opportunity to spend more time with her grandchildren: "My grandchildren have always been keen to learn about the work I have been involved in over the years with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Upon hearing about the Diamond Challenge, my two granddaughters decided they would like to become involved and we discussed about growing some fruit and veg, and both are very excited about the project. We decided to grow fruit and veg because I haven’t got a clue about gardening and it was something we can all learn together. We’ll share our produce with local older people and my granddaughters will come along with me.”

What's more, signing up to The DofE Diamond Challenge has a great double benefit in that whilst challenging yourself and pushing your boundaries, you’re also raising money for The DofE Charity so that it can transform the lives of more young people and offer free places and bursary grants to those most in need. And let's face it, it definitelty beats our normal New Year's resolutions!

To sign up to your DofE Diamond Challenge, visit www.DofEDiamondChallenge.org. Challenges can take place between 1 January and 31 December.