Ross Kemp has said the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will form part of its founder’s legacy as he called for donations to a fund aiming to help a million young people complete the scheme.
The actor is a supporter of the award, which is hoping to reach the target over the next five years with its Living Legacy Fund.
The money will help to establish new centres, train thousands more leaders and volunteers and provide targeted help to young people who need specialist support to complete their award, the DofE Award charity previously announced.
Former EastEnders star Kemp, 56, told the PA news agency: “The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is part of his legacy and I think it’s something he wholeheartedly supported because of his belief in young people.
“It’s open to people from all walks of life, people who are marginalised, young offenders can get on the course, people in schools, people who are members of clubs and, as I say, it gives not only value to yourself but also helps you to understand the value of being part of a community.
“Particularly coming out of lockdown you can’t underestimate that.”
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Kemp said he has “witnessed first hand the difference it can make to a young person’s life” and has handed out awards to participants.
“It helps people’s self-belief, it gives people life skills, it helps them to deal with things that might be thrown at them in later life,” he said.
He described Philip as “someone who had a lot of faith in young people” and added the award helps people “connect with their community in a positive way”.
Kemp said there had been an “outpouring of support” for Philip after his death, adding: “I think many people wouldn’t have thought that you would see that and I think that shows there’s such massive support for the royal family in this country still, from all walks of life and all areas.”
Other celebrities supporting the Living Legacy Fund include actor Hugh Jackman and actress Nina Wadia.
Some 6.7 million young people across the UK have taken part in the scheme and achieved more than 3.1 million awards since 1956.
The scheme sees participants complete tasks to help their community or environment, developing new skills and completing an expedition.
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Donations can be made to the Living Legacy Fund at dofe.org/livinglegacy. Alternatively cheques payable to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award can be sent to Supporter Relations Manager, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, 11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB.