The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is the world’s leading achievement award for young people. This charity aims to create a world where young people can reach their full potential whatever their circumstances. Their ethos is to enable every young person of every background to do their DofE and succeed, regardless of any barriers.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme provides activities that develops the whole person – mind, body and soul – in an environment of social interaction and teamworking. Young people progress through three levels of DofE programmes to achieve a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.
Taking part builds confidence and develops self-esteem. It requires persistence, commitment and has a lasting impact on the attitudes and outlook of all young people who do their DofE.
On January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, proclaimed in his State of the Union that if democracy is to survive and flourish, people everywhere in the world are entitled to four human rights: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
In order to keep the legacy of FDR alive, the Roosevelt Institute honors outstanding citizens who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to these ideals every year. The impressive ceremonies that mark the awarding of the Four Freedoms medals are held alternately in Hyde Park, New York and Middelburg, the Netherlands, where the Roosevelt Stichting, a private foundation, is responsible for organising the ceremony in the even-numbered years.
Together with the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute their mission is also to inform new generations of the ideals and achievements of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and to inspire the application of their spirit of optimism and innovation to the solution of current problems.
Alex van Heeren currently serves as a member of the Roosevelt Stichting Advisory Board.
In 2010, Alex van Heeren donated all the rooms and the use of his entire property, Huka Lodge, to The CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust to use as a venue for a magnificent fundraising event. This generous initiative from Alex van Heeren received an overwhelming level of response from CatWalk supporters with many local businesses donating goods and services to ensure CatWalk received every dollar of the ticket price for the event.
The CatWalk Spinal Injury Trust was founded in 2005 by Catriona Williams, formerly one of New Zealand’s leading international equestrian riders. Following a riding accident in 2002, she is now C6/C7 tetraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. Catriona Williams had this to say: ‘Gifts like this are quite unprecedented for a charity like ours and we can only thank Alex van Heeren from the bottom of our hearts for making this all possible. The sum raised will do so much to further our efforts to support research into a cure for spinal cord injury’.
In New Zealand alone, there is one new Spinal Cord Injury every five days resulting in long lasting impairment. Whilst there are a number of organisations providing valuable rehabilitative support to those with SCI, the CatWalk Trust aims to challenge the current boundaries of research, enabling those suffering from a SCI to walk again.
The CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Trust is dedicated to raising funds to support the body of scientific opinion which says a cure for spinal cord injury will be found.
In 2006, Alex van Heeren created the concept of the Big 5 Lunch to be hosted by Grande Provence Estate. Five celebrity chefs presented five fine wines over five courses, while guests were entertained with five performances. There were also five fabulous prizes and five outstanding auction items.
The inaugural event was a great success and raised a very substantial amount of money for the work of the charity Multiple Sclerosis, Western Cape. The Big 5 Lunch is now an annual event and continues to be a highly successful fundraising initiative to benefit sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis.