2021-22 Bronze and Silver Enrolments are open

  • Bronze – deadline: Monday 27 September (To attend initial training, Carey 16/17Oct)
  • Silver – deadline: Tuesday 4 January 2022 

Gold enrolments are taken all year around. 

Dates for 2021-22 are HERE

You can go DIRECT to Silver or Gold if you are the right age, with extra time on one of the longer sections: DofE timescales at a glance

What’s it all about?

You design your own programme and do an activity for the volunteering, physical and skills sections for an average of an hour a week, outside of mandatory curriculum time. There is also an expedition to do and, at Gold, a Residential. You have until your 25th birthday to complete activities for a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.

How old do I need to be and what are the timescales?

DofE timescales at a glance

Bronze Awards can now be started on 1/6 before Yr9 and Silver on 1/6 before Yr10, so long as the young person is (respectively) 14 or 15 by the end of the August of that academic year. No Gold activity can start before the 16th Birthday other than Expedition training. .

Although it is possible to work on 2 Award levels at once, at GillOAC the level below must usually be finished before enrolling for the next. This encourages commitment to completion of a whole Award Level.

Here is our Recruitment Presentation: 

The Sections you will need to do

It is an individual responsibility to check that any activity  undertaken for the DofE programme is appropriately managed and insured, unless the activity is directly managed by their DofE group.

Download a handy list of programme ideas for all sections for loads to think about:-

  • Volunteering: We have put together a huge list of volunteering ideas, with links, on this website which is added to whenever we have time to continue the search.
  • Physical: Sport, dance, martial arts, the gym, even walking regularly – anything that will get you active and improve your fitness. 
  • Skills: Learn a new skill (not in sport unless its officiating or leadership or an appreciation!) or develop existing talents. Try, motor sport, cooking, being a Committee Member or make some music- from arts to life skills to sports leadership to playing chess – so many…
  • Expedition: Plan, train for and complete an adventurous journey with other participants in a team.
    • Cost – we charge per off site event to cover all running costs of the Award Centre. This includes insurance, room hire, leader training, admin, transport inc team support, campsites, equipment repair and replacement, consumables and assessment. All leaders are volunteers. We still have to apply to grant makers to make ends meet.
    • Plus, all new enrolments undergo a 6hr nationally accredited First Aid course @ £33. Average costs with Gill OAC = Local day hikes £5; local Bronze weekends £20; Bronze weekends needing buses for transporting whole teams £35; 3 day Silver Expeds and 4/5 day Gold Expeds are proportionately more as they are out of County and there’s more campsites!
    • Parents are asked to help transport Participants to local (within 25 miles) start/finish points in order to keep costs of hiring buses to the minimum of emergency and leader vehicles. Please try and find someone to share transport with. If all else fails, speak to a Leader and ask for help.
    • Always consider the purchase of well fitting boots a must, but rucksacks and good waterproofs we can lend.
  • Residential (Gold only): Take part in a shared activity away from home with people you don’t know in a shared residence. It could be a conservation project, a language course or helping at an activity camp; there are opportunities for all pockets and interests. Often, volunteering to help a charity costs nothing or just asks for something towards living costs.There are many opportunities to be found on the Residential Page of The Award site which is updated frequently – searches can be filtered according to your delight! The guide to choosing a DofE Residential is essential reading because a mistake can be costly. Always confirm with the County Manager at dofe@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk before booking anything!


We try our best to make the Award inclusive to all and to support those people with health conditions or impairments.  Please discuss this with us before enrolling.

Once you’ve made up your mind that you want to do an Award you’ll need to complete the online enrolment form and to pay a DofE participation fee plus an extra charge for admin and support, added by Dorset Council. Make sure the email address given is one that will be checked as it will be used to communicate with you!

All Dorset Council DofE Centres charge the same Pack/Enrolment fee. From April 1st 2021 it is: Bronze/Silver £37; Gold £47 for the duration of the level you do. 

Payment is made by BACs in order to confirm and proceed with your enrolment. Bank Ref MUST BE full name of participant. sortcode 30.98.97 (Lloyds) a/c 47830260. Our account name is Gillingham DofE OAC.

If there is concern over the cost of things please speak to a Leader in confidence. We have access to a small bursary fund and will do our best to help.

What happens next?

You will be emailed your eDofE account details. Please open the account by completing mandatory personal details. You can manage your edofe account on a smartphone. Download the App here: https://www.dofe.org/app/ 

You may find this helpful: Using the eDofE App

eDofE is where you log your progress through your DofE programme, and is where your Leader checks and approves when you’ve completed your activity in each section.

You will not receive your Welcome Pack and your family DofE Discount Card in the post until you have entered address details. Make sure the postcode is correct!

Aim to start volunteering, physical and skills sections before the end of the year. Think about activities – check the official lists carefully: here. Plan your programme with a potential assessor using the Planning Sheet. Submit plans to your eDofE Leader on eDofE for their approval or, if you are not sure, email. Don’t start any section without that approval.

Meetings are Tuesdays term time after school in the Dance Studio to about 5.15pm – drop in for help. HERE is detailed when you need to attend

To take part in offsite activities with GillOAC you will need a parent/guardian to fill in a Medical and Consent Form GillOAC 2021

When you achieve your Award you’ll receive a badge and certificate. Gold Certificates are awarded at St James Palace by HRH Prince Edward.

Please keep contact details updated and inform us of changes; which are not automatically notified to individual Centres,