VOLUNTEERING

The Volunteering section is about helping others.

You can volunteer in a group or on your own.  

How to start your Volunteering

  • First, find a local volunteer service, activity or placement and ask if they offer students volunteering opportunities for DofE. There are lots of examples on this page.
    • Approach charitable, community interest or not-for-profit organisations. Please avoid placements offered at commercial organisations and businesses, like helping at a Vet or firm or assisting a commercial sports company. The spirit of DofE volunteering is to assist people, charities and community needs. Ask if not sure.
  • Ask an adult to be your Assessor. This will usually be the person in charge.

Parents cannot be Assessors.

  • Talk to your Assessor about your activity by discussing start and finish dates, time commitment and goals.
  • Submit activity details for approval (don’t leave as “Draft”) on eDofE so that they can be checked before you start anything.
  • Keep evidence as a log of dates or diary as you do the activity.

What activities can I do for Volunteering?

The DofE rules for Volunteering are important to understand so you look for the right opportunity.

  • Your Volunteering …
    • must be unpaid
    • must last for the full 3 or 6 or 12 or 18 months, depending on your Award level.
    • must not be a “job” or work placement for a commerical profit-making business. For example, working at a Vet or a garden centre or working for a commercial sports activity provider…are not allowed. Ask if not sure.
    • should be doing work for someone who needs help, a community or charity or non-profit enterprise.

Finding a local Volunteering that fits all the DofE rules, allows your age group and appeals to you, can sometimes be a challenge.

To help, we provide some opportunities at school.

For Volunteering ideas during Lockdown please scroll down.

DofE Conservation Group

Bronze students at RGS can apply to join our school Conservation group. Our groups go out for Conservation Days and, working under the expert guidance of Reigate Area Conservation Volunteers, we improve habitats. RGS has been involved with this work for well over 10 years delivering real improvements in local ecosystems. Unfortunately, we can only take a limited number.

Missing Maps

The Missing Maps club at school or outside is something that counts for Volunteering. Ask the Geography Department for details.

RGS Library Volunteers

Gold Award Leadership

Gold students at RGS can apply to be an Award Leader for their Gold Volunteering. You are needed to help run the DofE at RGS.  You will be trained to guide new Bronze students and teach a full expedition training programme to new groups. Every L6 DofE Gold participant is encouraged to become an Award Leader to help the operate our outstandingly successful DofE Award.

Award Leaders teach and mentor new Bronze groups

Unfortunately there are limited numbers for all these school based opportunities. The majority of participants will need to find their own Volunteering activity outside school.

Read below to find more opportunities and ask if you are have any difficulty finding a voluntary activity.

Here are some local Volunteering ideas

VolunteeringIdeas
Care HomesRegular visits to care homes to help, befriend and entertain residents.
During lockdown some CareHomes still welcome regular volunteering: ask about…
Writing letters to introduce yourself
Having phone calls/video calls with your new friend
Recording your music or singing
Making bird feeders
Writing a newspaper for care home residents to read
Making crosswords or word searches
Making decorations, write stories etc.
East Surrey Hospital Volunteers at East Surrey Hospital are invaluable in assisting patients and staff every day, all year round.
Volunteers are a committed and caring group of people.
We have volunteers of all ages from 16 years upwards.
ZooniverseZooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers.
To volunteer with us, just go to the projects page, choose one you like the look of, and get started.
St John AmbulanceSocial media volunteer
Hedgehog HomesHelp hedgehogs when they go into hibernation by creating permanent structures in your garden for hedgehogs to make their homes from.
Missing MapsMédecins Sans Frontières is one of the founders of the Missing Maps Project. Volunteers help map areas of the world where aid organisations, like MSF, need information on an area where there has been a war, natural disaster or a disease outbreak. In this way you are able to help map areas of the world where humanitarian aid agencies need to know the geography in order to get help to the most vulnerable people.
ConservationJoin the RGS student conservation group who volunteer with Reigate Area Conservation Volunteers. RACV is an independent voluntary group, dedicated to undertaking practical nature conservation tasks around the Reigate Area.
Rainbows, Brownies, CubsVolunteer to help at your local Beavers, Rainbows, Brownies or Cubs.
Sports LeadershipVolunteer to help coach a sport regularly for a community or charitable group. Providing volunteering got commercial and profit making sports coaches is not in the spirit of DofE. Ask if not sure. Example: Football Club at Parish School: Monday  3.30-4.30pm (obviously you couldn’t go at 3.30pm, but from 3.50pm is OK) with year 6 children.  Contact office@reigate-parish.surrey.sch.uk
Animal WelfareFind an animal charity or rescue centre to volunteer for. Volunteering to regularly care for animals is a volunteering section. Working for a Vet does not count.
Charity fund raisingFind a charity and organise fund raising. Make sure this will last for the full time scale. Also check this is not overlapping.. e.g. you cannot do a sponsored run / swim and count it for Volunteering.
Scouts6th Reigate meet at Shaw’s Corner church, by the war memorial. Volunteers to help at Beaver Scouts on Monday evenings between 5:20 and 6:40; running games, helping set up and clear up after activities. Beaver Scouts are aged between 6 and 8. Previous knowledge or experience of Scouts/Guides at any level would be a help but is by no means essential. Contact: Scout Leader: david.tilling@outlook.com
Charity Shop volunteersVolunteering at one of the Charity Shops locally is a popular choice. Visit them and ask early what opportunities they have.
Volunteer at homeCovid19 has allowed DofE to add flexibility in what you can do for Volunteering. You can now volunteer to help a member of your family. This must be beyond babysitting or helping with usual chores! Read the link to the left to find out more. This is for lockdown period only…please plan with your assessor how you can develop your work beyond the family once any Lockdown is over. Examples:
– mentoring a younger sibling, helping with their homework each week in a subject you really enjoy. 
– coaching a sibling or other family member to learn an instrument or develop another skill 

Still stuck for a Volunteering opportunity?

Try these…

How long do I do my Volunteering for?

DofE timescales

DofE activities are usually for a minimum of an hour a week.

However, it can help for Volunteering to be longer (in terms of hours per session) but less often.

This can be helpful for Volunteering activities which often require longer than one hour a week for more interesting, challenging and responsible activities. A volunteering activity for one day a month would be acceptable. However, your start and finish dates must fulfil the total timescale required.

A SHORT intensive period of activity does NOT COUNT, even if it is a great activity e.g. helping at a kids holiday club or sports club for one week would NOT count for Volunteering.  You will need to add regular hours after that to complete the proper timescale.

More ideas for Volunteering during Lockdown

Below are loads of ideas of ways you can volunteer from home or remotely. For more inspiration, check out our full list of Volunteering section activities.

Volunteering from home or in the family must go beyond just helping with normal family life. See below for ideas. In all cases an assessor outside the immediate family must be found. They need not watch every moment of your activity…rather be provided with plenty of evidence to verify your regular active progress towards agreed goals.

  • Fundraise for an important cause, such as St John AmbulanceYHALeonard Cheshire or The British Heart Foundation
  • Remotely support elderly people who are in isolation with Kissing It Better
  • Help with social media content for YHA
  • Take part in a digital personal safety campaign with Resolve It
  • Become a volunteering videographer for YHA
  • Become an Energy Envoy with the National Energy Foundation
  • Become a youth ambassador with Anthony Nolan
  • Volunteer online with the British Red Cross missing maps project
  • Participate in research of all kinds with Zooniverse and ZSL
  • Take part in a John Muir Award and help to conserve nature from home
  • If you are a Young Carer, your caring responsibilities can count for your volunteering. The Assessor should be a professional who is supporting you with your caring role, ideally from a Young Carers Project or Social Work/Youth Work departments. Young Carers are also encouraged to contact their nearest Young Carers Project.
  • Prepare some sessions for future Beaver, Cub, Rainbow, Brownie or youth group meetings
  • Prepare some meal parcels, go shopping or walk the dog of people who have been affected by COVID-19
  • Skype talk / FaceTime / WhatsApp call an elderly neighbour to prevent isolation
  • Maintain Facebook / Instagram / websites for a local community group or charity
  • Help teach a sibling a subject. This must include a programme of study or revision and your active participation in helping their learning. An Assessor outside the family will need to be found.

Download more volunteering ideas here:

programme ideas – volunteering

How do I finish my Volunteering section?

  1. You should have agreed start and finish dates with your Assessor at the start.
  2. When you have finished let your assessor know that you have completed your regular commitments for the correct timescale.
  3. Provide them with the evidence to show that you have finished.
  4. If they agree, ask your Assessor to sign up your edofe record card or they can write their report directly online at https://www.dofe.org/assessor.
  5. Upload any further evidence to edofe.  
  6. Submit the section for approval and check emails to see if there are any queries.

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