A teenager who has an 'invisible' disability is encouraging others like her not to be put off going for their Duke of Edinburgh awards.

Izzy Nash, 16, from Clitheroe, is doing her Gold DofE and has been selected as one of 35 youth ambassadors for the charity founded by the late Prince Philip.

In the role, Izzy - who has a severe nut allergy - will be a youth advocate, speaking at events and meeting decision makers in Parliament to ensure young people's voices are heard, while shaping the direction of the DofE's work.

She is also encouraging other young people with disabilities that are not immediately noticeable others to not let this define them, and to take on challenges such as the Duke of Edinburgh awards, and also wants to empower other girls and young women.

She said: “I really like being outdoors, but I wasn’t the best at map-reading, so I felt doing my DofE would help brush up my skills, alongside practising putting up a tent and developing other outdoor skills which might help me with solo trips in the future. 

“My challenge has paid off because I have improved my map reading skills throughout my Bronze, Silver, and Gold Expeditions.

"I was even the lead navigator for my Gold Expedition and now I feel far more confident as a young female to independently tackle more exciting adventures in the future.

"I hope that my achievement can inspire someone else with an ‘invisible disability’ to have the confidence to take part in the DofE scheme too.” 

As a youth ambassador, Izzy plans to support other young people in finding different ways to access their DofE.

She said: “I have successfully completed all my expeditions with the ‘invisible’ disability of a severe nut allergy that meant my teammates could not bring nuts.

"I had to gain the trust of my teammates with handling my allergy during cooking, which was a huge challenge.

"I have now learned how to communicate my allergy to other people, so that I can enjoy my expeditions without worrying.” 

The DofE helps young people develop skills and passions while growing resilience and confidence and also giving back to their communities.

Ashley Williams, UK youth engagement manager at The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said:  “Izzy is one of many young people who have achieved incredible things through their DofE.

"As a charity, we’re determined to put young people at the heart of everything we do and to connect them with opportunities to make a positive impact on the issues they care about – and we can’t wait to see what our new cohort of Youth Ambassadors achieve this year. 

“As they navigate the ongoing after-effects of the pandemic and a severe cost-of-living crisis, it’s more vital than ever that all young people get access to opportunities like the DofE, which let them have fun, grow their resilience and self-belief, and develop vital skills they can’t always get in the classroom.”