Volunteering is simple. It’s about helping those in need, the environment or animals without getting paid (apart from expenses). Its usually helping as part of a volunteer work team, but could you maybe help to administer or fundraise? You’ll learn loads of things along the way but the focus is not yourself – it’s always about others in need and how you are helping them.

Find out HERE how offering your time by volunteering as part of your DofE can open all sorts of doors – from enhancing your CV to giving you interesting conversational topics at job, college and university interviews. It can even help you to discover your chosen career or an interest you never knew you had.

Your DofE Volunteering CANNOT be done with or for a profit making business whether its a partnership, corporation, entrepreneur or sole trader. Organisations have to be a charity, community or not-for-profit because it is about you serving the community for its betterment, not providing free labour for another’s financial profit!   

If you want to learn a Life Skill in return for giving time to a business, such as above, then that becomes a DofE Skill, not Volunteering. FAQs HERE. Always SUBMIT your plans on eDofE to be sure.

You must ask the provider of each activity about the insurance cover in place. The Award and Dorset Council only provide limited cover for activities led directly by DofE staff.

Here is a useful volunteer agreement that you are welcome to use as it sets out things very clearly for you and the organisation. Volunteer Agreement between DofE Participant and Organisation

Loads of links and ideas below……

The pandemic has had and will have an impact on organisations currently being able to use volunteers. However it may be still worth enquiring especially of those where you’d be working outside or independently of others.   

Listed below are activiies suggested by The Award where your normal clubs are still shut due to COVID restrictions or you have to self-isolate. Home activities will need to be recorded using the LOGSHEET FOUND HERE which is uploaded to edofe for a leader to be the assessor.

– You can be a social media volunteer for St John Ambulance

– You can fundraise to raise money for the Royal medical Benevolent Fund through Medic Mentor

– You can take part in a John Muir Award and help to conserve nature from home

– Volunteer for Kissing It Better and remote support elderly people who are in isolation

– Take part in a digital personal safety campaign with Resolve It

– St John Ambulance – 12 week fundraising plan

– Try some ideas from Leonard Cheshire’s guide to 12-week volunteering from home

– Putting the fun in fundraising with the British Heart Foundation

– Become an Energy Envoy with the National Energy Foundation

 Virtual volunteering

– Missing maps project

– Participate in research of all kinds, from classifying galaxies to counting penguins to transcribing manuscripts with Zooniverse

– 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 should also be encouraged to contact their nearest Young Carers Project

– Although volunteering for family members is not normally allowed, we do now have permission to consider activities such as described HERE

– Prepare some sessions for future Beaver, Cub, Rainbow, Brownie or youth group meeting for once they resume. Some groups are continuing to meet on Zoom.

– Prepare some resources to be used by the younger members of your youth group to be sent home to parents online to help them during isolation

– Prepare some meal parcels, go shopping or walk the dog of people who are affected by coronavirus

– Skype talk / face time / WhatsApp call to the elderly neighbour to keep them from being isolated

– Maintain a Facebook or Instagram page / websites for a local group or charity


Dorset Council is working with public sector partners and charities across Dorset to respond to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more HERE  

The Trussell Trust operates a foodbank in Gillingham and across the UK. Locations HERE

Is there someone in your own neighbourhood who is poorly or infirm or has to socially distance at this time? Can you collect shopping or prescriptions; care for their pets; tend their garden? How about using Skype or WhatsApp to chat or read to someone?

In better times, there’s reading to the elderly or playing board/card games; singing or playing music in their own homes or at a local care home. Find a map HERE. (Yours would be a recreational role, not helping staff clean/tidy or prepare/serve food)  

Approved Activity Providers (AAPs) are organisations whose Volunteering section opportunities have been approved by the DofE as meeting our sectional conditions and can count towards the achievement of a DofE Award. HERE is a list of  opportunities. You will need to filter it to just show the section that you want to complete.

The Award has also specifically put together a list of volunteering ideas for under 16s HERE 

This is probably going to be difficult whilst we still have to work in bubbles but for future reference: Ask at School, your old Primary or their linked pre-schools – they are all community organisations – so long as it’s out of your curriculum time and adds up to more than an hour a week. It could be helping younger students in class or on the sports field; in the library; at after school clubs; school fundraising; joining a working group to improve school for everyone; school committees; council; prefect; anti bullying, sport or arts ambassador; school productions…………….. Ask your tutor.

Or, is there any tidying that you could help with around school or the school grounds?

If you attend a local group in order to enjoy your own hobbies and interests, ask if there is a time when you could help the younger ones. 

Community notice boards tell you a bit more about what’s going on locally. Most villages have a community web page now; towns and counties all do. 

The Marnhull MessengerMarnhull Hub; Child Okeford; East Stour; www.east-knoyle.co.uk; West Knoyle; Maiden Bradley; Warminster; Stalbridge; CrockertonLongbridgeandHillDeverill; Mere; DonheadsCharltonLudwellandtheCoombes; Fontmell Magna; Fifehead Magdalen; Okeford Fitzpaine; Iwerne Valley

Community Shops (run by a team of volunteers for the benefit of the community) are in Motcombe , Bishops Caundle, Thorncombe, Maiden Bradley, and there may well be more.

Community farms like Longmead Community Farm, which is near Milborne St Andrew: Holtwood, near Wimborne. Fancy’s Farm, Portland; Future Roots, Holnest;

Places where our participants have volunteeered:-


Gillingham Town Council has asked local groups to submit their contact details. Not all immediately look like volunteering opportunities but why not ask if you can help: HERE .

Gillingham Action for Nature GANG Group manages Withywood and Millenium Wood nature reserves, hold walks, talks and outings and completes other conservation work around town. GANG works alongside the Town Meadow Group  – the community area found at the bottom of Gillingham High Street linking the main town to the Library and Waitrose.

Riversmeet Leisure Centre – helping young sport enthusiasts alongside the community coaches.  

BONES (Gillingham’s Youth Club in Cemetery Rd) is on Wednesdays and Thursdays – use the facebook page to ask if they need help – particularly on the Junior Club night.

Hipp!!Bones Club for Young People with Special Needs based at Gillingham Youth Centre. This Club meets the 1st and 3rd Saturday mornings in the month for 2 hours, each time, so you will need to aim to be there to help prepare and clear up in order to make the hours needed.

Girl Guiding Dorset – based behind the Youth Centre – they love help with Rainbows

Scouts – Gillingham – could be worth asking about helping with Beavers or even Cubs. Further afield you can find out about other Scouting groups from their County websites: Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset.

Messy Church – family fun meetings once every month in Gillingham or local to the town. You would need to discuss how you’d meet the average hour per week you need – maybe setting up and clearing up will take 4 hrs – otherwise keep going until the hours are covered or there are other activities connected to the group that you can help with. Such as the planning meetings. “Biscuit Barrel” is the Church youth group for yr6 to about yr8. Fridays once a month. There’s also a pop up cafe (see events page) that is on every 2nd Saturday of the month: they’ve just extended hours and menu to help raise monies for other charities, Contact info here on the Church website – plus a links page for other Church based information.

The Donkeys and Shetlands Last Home is on the Sherborne Causeway. 


There are a large number of community organisations in and around Shaftesbury . The same webpage also lists some local churches and schools (right hand menu).


Ros Eveleigh can be contacted via the Marnhull Messenger. She has ideas for where young people can help in the village.

The Marnhull Hub needs help Saturday mornings in the Hub Café and possibly in their Repair shop. Ask for Sioban Boyce


The Wincanton Window is a community website with lots of information on local clubs, sport, church, activity and interest groups

Carymoor Environmental Trust is an environmental education and nature conservation charity, providing inspirational outdoor learning for schools and community groups.The Centre is located near the active landfill site at Dimmer, near Castle Cary.

Community Action to Transform Cale Habitat (CATCH) is a volunteer community group founded by two local dads, Gary Hunt and Matt Bishop, in November 2012. The group’s objective is to improve and maintain the habitat of the River Cale in the Wincanton area, whilst encouraging a diverse, natural balance of wildlife.

There’s a list here of lots of other West Wilts Community/Neighbourhood sites


Go to the Sturminster Community website and The Town Council site for a contact number for someone to speak to.

Friends of Stour Connect is a charitable organisation dedicated to improving facilities and access at the Stour Connect Day Centre in Sturminster Newton. They are great to contact about volunteering. There’s a café that needs volunteers and they have other projects on too.

Dorset Volunteer Centre has a base at Stour Connect Tues 10 to 2pm

Bere Marsh Farm (Shillingstone) has just been bought by the Countryside Restoration Trust and will need help in 2021.  


The Dorset Volunteer Centre supports volunteers and charitable organisations across Dorset. You can register online to be matched to organisations or search HERE for the latest.

Dorset Libraries – always enquire of your local library first the apply HERE

Dorset Churches – Parish Clerks will know their community (as will the Vicar) and where people may need help either because of their age or an infirmity. That could simply mean helping someone with their shopping, walking dogs, gardening, housework, companionship.

Dorset Wildlife Trust The webpage describes what you could get involved in amd how to register interest. There’s a further page to find the six local groups across Dorset.

Messy Church is a way of being church for families and others. It is Christ-centred, for all ages, based on creativity, hospitality and celebration.

The Cinnamon Trust is a charity set up to look after pets belonging to the terminally ill by placing volunteers to help them out.

Youth Clubs in Dorset. There are community run village/town youth clubs all over the place, where you could offer to help – even help behind the tuck bar is usually well received, and you can find out who to talk to from pages like Youth Action Wiltshire, Dorset Youth Association, and Somerset Youth

Find out what you may be able to offer a Children’s Centre through volunteering. There are 27 across Dorset!

Maybe think about getting involved with the Ramblers who, amongst other things, help to maintain local paths. Other jobs are helping to run groups, lead walks, campaigning

Railway enthusiast? Have a look here at the Shillingstone (16+ yrs) Project; Somerset and Dorset Railway (Junior and Adult m’ship); Swanage Railway; Somerset and Dorset Railway at Midsomer Norton; Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust.

Here is a link to the Animal Rescue Directory for the UK. If you contact your local Vet they may know of further rescues. Please remember that you mustn’t offer your volunteer time to a Vet Practice, to look after pets with paying owners, as the Vets would be viewed as a commercial organisation. However if they have a Rescue section that relies on volunteer help to function then that is feasible – check tho’!

The Margaret Green Animal Sanctuary has two centres – Church Knowle Rehoming and Visitor Centre covers 35 acres of in Purbeck and the Lincoln Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre for Dogs is situated between Blandford and Bere Regis in Dorset.

Like horses and everything to do with them? What about Riding for the Disabled? Pop your postcode into this page and several groups will come up.

Charity Shops in the area are listed on Google – just search. Here is a search link that should show contact details for quite a list.

Think about fundraising as an individual or a team for something like Children in Need or Comic Relief or a charity of your choice. Commitment (for sectional dates) can start the day your plans start to take shape, through the event/s, and up to the time you pay your raised monies across.

You might find a local cause here or here to add funds to, or even set up your own Just Giving account to raise money for others.

Volunteering Section FAQs are found here