Stuck for inspiration when it comes to DofE volunteering ideas? Then check out the list below for 30+ opportunities in the UK that you can use towards this part of your award.


Before we start….

If you are new to this blog, I’m Bex Band – a full-time adventurer and founder of UK’s largest women’s adventure community, Love Her Wild. I’m on a mission to make the outdoors and adventures as easy as possible!

If you have any questions, please do use the comments box below. And for ongoing tips and inspiration on camping and adventure, make sure you follow me on Facebook and Instagram. And don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter to be the first to hear of future adventures!

Make sure you also out my video of 17 DofE hacks to help you pass and make the most of your award! Whether you’re working towards bronze, silver or gold, you’ll find the tips in this video helpful:

What counts as volunteering?

The goal of volunteering is to give back to help people, the community or society. Before committing to a role, make sure you understand the criteria and have also cleared it with your DofE leader first.

Your DofE volunteering section should involve….

  • giving time to do something useful without getting paid (apart from expenses)
  • working with a charity, not for profit or community interest company (giving your time for a commercial company won’t count)
  • can involve working in a team

The amount of time you need to commit for your volunteering section is:

  • Bronze Award: 2 hours a week for 3 months
  • Silver Award: 2 hours a week for 6 months
  • Gold Award: 2 hours a week for 12 months

If you have more questions about criteria, check out the FAQ page on the volunteering DofE website. But now for some DofE volunteering ideas….

Camping games for adults

Volunteering with children

Volunteering with children can be very rewarding. There are lots of roles you can take as a volunteer supporting young people in your area. See if there are local youth groups, sports clubs, reading or big brother/sister schemes you can get involved with. Or check out these national charities:

  1. Beanstalk
    A national reading charity providing one-to-one support to children. You can volunteer as a Reading Leader, helping children with their reading skills. 13+ only.
  2. Girlguiding
    Empowering girls and young women from aged 5 upwards, with adventurous groups set up all over the country. 16+ only.
  3. Scouts
    The Scout Association is the largest Scouting organisation in the United Kingdom and is the World Organization of the Scout Movement’s recognised member for the United Kingdom. 16+ only.
  4. Girls Out Loud
    Empowering teenage girls to learn, lead and thrive. Volunteer to be a big sister and a role model.

Volunteer with disabled people

If supporting disabled people appeals to you, there are lots of charities across the country you can volunteer for. Do a search for:
– local disabled groups, meet ups or therapy classes
– mentoring and befriending charities for disabled people

Or try one of the following organisations:

  1. Riding for the Disabled Association
    RDA’s have horses and ponies trained to support disabled people through therapy and enjoyment. You can volunteer to support an individual take part in a riding or carriage drive at your local RDA.
  2. Guide Dogs
    Guide Dogs provides a range of services for people with sight loss. Volunteer to be a sighted guide and to support a blind person. 18+ only.

Volunteer with elderly people

Older people are often the most vulnerable in communities. Working with the elderly as a volunteer can often just mean providing some companionship to tackle loneliness.

If you have a specific talent (like singing or playing an instrument) you could see if your local care home would welcome you as a volunteer once a week to perform for the residents.

  1. Kissing it Better
    Kissing it Better is a charity offering supported volunteering opportunities, so you can use your talents to light up the day for older people in hospitals and care homes. 14+ only.
  1. Royal Voluntary Service
    RVS is a national charity delivering practical support for older people through the power of volunteering. There are 2 great ways to get involved as a volunteer – in their community cafe or in their community clubs. 14+ only.
  2. Sanctuary Care Ltd
    Sanctuary Care helps elderly people living in residential care live a happy and connected life. Volunteer befrienders provide extra support with chatting, reading, listening or joining residents on short walks. 13+ only.

Volunteering at summer camps

If you enjoy working with children and have lots of energy, then why not consider volunteering for a residential camp. Responsibilities could include looking after the children, coming up with activities and getting messy!

  1. Superweeks
    UK based summer camp holidays run by The ATE Trust for children aged 8-16. Volunteer to be a monitor. 17+ only.YHA Summer Camps
  2. Youth Adventure Trust
    Runs adventure programs to support disadvantaged children in the South West of England. Volunteer to help on their activity days or camps. 18+ only.
    CHICKS provides free respite breaks to children aged 8-15 from all over the UK who would really benefit from a break from their home lives. You can volunteer on one of their respite holidays. 18+ only.

Volunteering in a charity shop or cafe

Volunteering in a charity shop or cafe could include duties such as sorting through stock, organising shelves and assisting customers. If this sounds exciting to you, do some research to see what charity shops are nearby or if there are any community cafes you can get involved with.

  1. Bernardo’s
    Bernardo’s supports vulnerable children in the UK. They have stores across the country needing volunteers. 14+ only.
  2. Blue Cross
    The Blue Cross house abandoned and unwanted pets as well as providing treatments in their clinics. Help in their charity shops. 14+ only.
  3. The British Red Cross
    The British Red Cross aims to help people, whoever and wherever they are, in times of crisis. They have stores across the country needing volunteers. 15+ only.
  4. The Children’s Society
    The Children’s Society helps vulnerable children who have nowhere else to turn. Help in one of their stores assisting customers and sorting donations. 14+ only.
  5. Oxfam
    Oxfam is working to eradicate poverty all over the world. You can volunteer in one of their many charity shops selling music online, merchandising vintage clothes and researching books. 14+ only.
  6. YHA
    YHA provides budget accommodation for individuals, families and groups. Help out at a nearby hostel working in the cafe, on reception or doing some gardening. 14+ only.

Volunteering with animals

Volunteering with animals can be fun but also hard-work. You’ve got to be ready to get your hands dirty as popper-scooping and cleaning out pens often come as part of the deal. If you are wanting to work with animals see if you have any of the following locally:
– cat and dog shelter
– dog walking or pet sitting services for elderly and disabled people
– animal therapy organisations

  1. Blue Cross
    The Blue Cross house abandoned and unwanted pets as well as providing treatments in their clinics. Help in their charity shops. Support the team with looking after pets in their care. 14+ only.
  2. Cats Protection
    Cats Protection helps around 200,000 cats and kittens every year in their branches and centres across the country. Cat care volunteers help cats and kittens in the charity’s care. 14+ only.
  3. Guide Dog
    Guide Dogs provides a range of services for people with sight loss. You can volunteer to be a puppy walker for guide dogs in training.

Volunteering in conservation or the outdoors

Conservation volunteering opportunities usually come with the added benefit of included time outside! There are a variety of roles available from beach cleans to tree planting.

  1. RSPB
    The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home and secure a healthy environment for wildlife. Join us. They have lots of different volunteer roles on their website.
  2. The National Trust
    The National Trust looks after the places you love, from houses, buildings and gardens to coast and countryside. You can join as a volunteer helping at one of the places helping with customers, gardening or litter picking.
  3. The Canal and River Trust
    The Canal and River Trust looks after England and Wales waterways. You can volunteer in conservation helping to look after their networks. 13+ only.
  4. The Countryside Restoration Trust
    The Countryside Restoration Trust is the UK’s leading charity promoting wildlife-friendly farming and campaigning for a living, working countryside. You can volunteer with hedge planting, cleaning scrub, pairing gates and putting up nest boxes. 14+ only.
  5. The National Energy Foundation
    NEF give individuals and organisations the knowledge and inspiration to improve the use of energy in buildings. You can volunteer to set up an exciting project to help your community be more energy efficient. 14+ only.
  6. Park Run
    Parkrun is a collection of 5-kilometre running events that take place every Saturday morning at all over the UK. You can volunteer as a marshal to help make the events happen for people and families locally. 18+ only.
  7. Surfers Against Sewers
    Surfers Against Sewers are a conservation charity supporting marine conservation in the UK. One of the best ways you can volunteer is by joining in their regular beach cleans or, even better, setting one up yourself.

Volunteer as a fundraiser or admin

Fundraisers are key to keeping charities running with essential funds. As a fundraiser your role might include bucket collecting, helping organising or running events or campaigning in the streets. I think there are very few charities that would say no to some fundraising help so if there is a local charity you are passionate about, contact them directly to ask!

  1. Cats Protection
    Cats Protection helps around 200,000 cats and kittens every year in their branches and centres across the country. You can volunteer with their social media and marketing to help raise awareness.
  2. The British Red Cross
    The British Red Cross aims to help people, whoever and wherever they are, in times of crisis. They are looking for fundraisers to help support the charity. 15+ only.
  3. The Children’s Society
    The Children’s Society runs local projects, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable. Volunteer your time as a fundraiser for the charity as a group or individual. 14+

DofE volunteering ideas

Hopefully, these DofE volunteering ideas have given you some inspiration of what to do for your service. My main bit of advice with any volunteering you do is:

  • Choose a charity and role that you will be passionate and excited about undertaking
  • Think about your skills and how you can best use them to help a charity or person in need
  • Always be reliable and honest with any charity or volunteering role you take on

Have you got any other DofE volunteering ideas I’ve missed? Or any questions about volunteering for your Duke of Edinburgh? Let me know in the comments box below!

If you found this blog helpful, follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Or you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. I give all my advice out for free on my website. If you want to say thanks, you can buy me a coffee!

5 thoughts on “30+ DofE volunteering ideas in the UK

  1. Hi, thank you for your guidance on this page! My son is doing the bronze DOE award this year and it is proving a little bit challenging trying to find suitable volunteering roles in lockdown.
    We are contacting local care homes etc to see if they can facilitate zoom ‘readings’ or ‘music / gaming sessions’ that my son could volunteer, but i wondered if you had any other inspiration in these difficult times. Any help would be appreciated! We live near Norwich….
    Thank you

    1. It’s such a difficult time to coordinate volunteering! How about food banks…I know a lot of them are staying open and need help. Also writing to elderly who are isolated is something I’ve seen advertised. Maybe reading via zoom to children or helping with english with refugees. Keep contacting charities as one of them will no doubt have a way he can help.
      The only other idea I have is (if he’s good with social media) seeing if a charity needs any marketing help!

    2. My son completed his bronze 2020-21 and volunteered at a football club teaching 5-6 year olds football.

  2. Hi I’m doing silver d of e and I have no idea what volunteering opportunities I could go or would be available I am 15 and live around ramsbottom and bury area could you help?

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *