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Hindujas to join Edinburgh awards

Hinduja Foundation will create #3.5 mn endowment fund, with the objective of encouraging youths worldwide, writes Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2006 20:07 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt

The launch of the 50th anniversary year of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award was followed by the announcement of the Hinduja Foundation, joining it with the creation of £ 3.5 million endowment fund.

It is to finance the award's objecting of encouraging youths in various skills worldwide.

Hosted by the Earl of Wessex the reception also highlighted the affluence and influence of Indians, who had flown in from all over the world, and more significantly the re-emergence of the Hindujas at the top echelon of the British establishment.

The award, conceived by Prince Philip, which attracts half a million young from all over the world vying for the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards that enable them to better their prospects, would be vastly helped by the donation of £3.5 million by the Hinduja Brothers.

The donation will also enable the award to host an annual reception at the time of the Hindu festival of Diwali in October, helping still further to raise awareness of the award's activities among the Asian community.

Currently almost seven per cent of the 14-17-year-olds in the UK are taking part through Award Groups in youth clubs, voluntary organisations, open award centres, schools, colleges, young offender institutes and businesses.

Sir Tom Farmer, chairman of Trustees of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award said, "We are very pleased that the Hinduja Foundation has chosen to recognise the invaluable role that the Award plays in the development of young people particularly in the UK."

The Award attracts over 500,000 young from all over the world to try and receive help to better their prospects. Help also reaches the teenagers through youth clubs, schools and young offenders institutes and business centres.

Thanking the Hindujas for the generous support to the Award programme, and welcoming the invitees the Earl of Wessex, said the aim of his father the Duke of Edinburgh in setting up the charity was shared by the Hindujas and he welcomed their support.

He added it was not just money that was needed but also ideas to provide greater access to the young irrespective of their "race, colour or the country they belong to". The percentage of new entrants from ethnic minorities he said increased by 35 per cent in the year 2003-2004.

His appeal must have reached most parts of the world. Indians had come from Canada, the richest NRI there, the US, Belgium, the leading diamond merchant in Antwerp, Rashmi Mehta, Spain, France, from where Paris bankers had come, and of course from across Britain.

SP Hinduja, thanking the Earl, said their association with the Award went back 19 years and the resolve to support it more closely came after a meeting with the Duke of Edinburgh. The brothers have also decided to celebrate their birthdays to raise funds for the causes pursued by charities like by the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

The function is to held at the ornate halls of St James's Palace, stones throw from Buckingham Palace.

First Published: Feb 27, 2006 20:07 IST