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The history of the award

The Duke of Cornwall Community Safety Award was launched in response to significant flooding in Cornwall during 2010.

His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince Charles (The Duke of Cornwall) visited the village of Lostwithiel to see first-hand the devastating aftermath of flooding which left homes and businesses ruined.

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He questioned why youth organisations were not effectively engaged in the recovery effort, as is often the case in other countries during major community emergencies.

There are numerous examples of where young people have taken part in planned international relief and recovery operations and helped to save lives.

For example, during the Boxing Day Asian tsunami and the 2009 earthquake in central Italy young people helped provide health care, distributed relief and cared for people in communities under the guidance of disaster relief charities.

The idea of educating and training young people to assist before, during and after a crisis is a simple but effective one. This is happening internationally – so why not here in the UK?

The Duke of Cornwall Community Safety Award was developed to give young people in the UK the first opportunity to learn what to do in an emergency situation such as severe weather, a pandemic or a long-term power cut.

As well as teaching them to protect themselves, the process makes them think about how to prepare their families and consider vulnerable people in their local communities.

Using the existing structure of uniformed youth organisations, young people could also be mobilised in a safe and manageable way to assist emergency services and local authorities in the recovery phase of any incident.

Whilst we cannot prevent emergencies and natural disasters from happening, we can ensure that the next generation is better prepared and ready to help others in times of crisis throughout the UK.

When responding to the challenge by HRH Prince Charles, the established uniformed youth organisations were a natural place to look. The principles of preparation and service found in these organisations perfectly reflected the ethos of what the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) was trying to achieve.

A pilot youth engagement project was used successfully through a Community Safety Badge being piloted by Scouts in Devon, Cornwall and Essex.

The LRF wanted to extend the scheme beyond the Scouts to engage with more young people and the Duke of Cornwall Community Safety Award was born in 2012.

It was based on the Scout badge principles and enabled young people between the ages of 5 and 18 to progress through a series of awards. As well broadening its appeal, the new award demonstrated how young people could be engaged before, during and after an emergency.

Representatives of all uniformed youth organisations in Cornwall were gathered together by the LRF and all agreed to work together in partnership to support the initiative.

A training package was devised for each award level, giving group leaders guidance on how to deliver the new skills through their own organisation.

By using their own safeguarding structures, leaders were reassured that the appropriate health and safety measures were in place to prevent any risk to young people.

The award was quickly adopted by all uniformed youth organisations in Cornwall including Scouts, Girl Guides, Boys Brigade and military and emergency services cadets, and has gone from strength to strength.