Wednesday 28th May 2008 by C. Freeman
Celebrity fund-raiser, Mr Lloyd Scott and local MP, Mr Phil Hope were at Brooke Weston for the start of a national research programme where they encouraged young people to take part in voluntary activities.
They spoke at the launch of the 'Impact' initiative , a national study commissioned by the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, to evaluate exactly how young people benefit from taking part in the Scheme.
The Impact launch was also attended by delegates from the Pears Foundation at the University of Northampton where the research is being carried out, along with Brooke Weston students working towards their Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh's Awards.
Mr Scott, who has raised thousands of pounds for charity, brought along the nine foot high robot costume which he wore while completing this year's London Marathon. He took six days to complete the arduous 26-mile course raising money for the Autism Trust. His previous exploits have included taking part in the marathon dressed in a deep sea diving costume and completing an 'underwater' marathon below the surface of Loch Ness!
Mr Scott is a former professional footballer and fire-fighter. After inhaling smoke in the line of duty he contracted and beat leukaemia and subsequently started raising money for charity. He said: 'The charity fund-raising has evolved over the years from my own personal circumstances where I had leukaemia. I think really there's so many wonderful causes now to raise funds and awareness for. People think that those with autism have a fairly robotic type of existence but by using the robot model we wanted to show that there's real people inside with real potential.'
He has raised up to £25,000 for the Autism Trust from the marathon sponsorship and is already planning next year's fund-raising idea which involves walking from John O' Groats to Land's End in a life-size dinosaur costume!
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme requires participants to complete expeditions, a service and a skill, and so volunteering forms a major part of the award. Corby MP, Mr Hope, is also MP for Volunteering and the Third Sector. He said: 'The Third Sector includes voluntary organisations, charities, community groups, social enterprises; those kinds of bodies. I'm trying to promote those groups to make sure they get proper funding and support. I'm also Minister for Volunteering and try to promote volunteering in the community because it makes us stronger communities if we have more people taking part.'
He said: 'Some of the volunteering we're encouraging is really diverse, in the arts or in sport. Volunteering develops young people's skills, self confidence and their ability to work as part of a team and communicate. It gives them all sorts of skills that a lot of employers would want.'