Gillingham (Dorset) DofE Open Award Centre is licensed to deliver the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award through Dorset Council. It is run entirely by volunteers and is self-funding.

Registered Charity Number 1178953. Contact the Charity Commission for more information.

Gift Aid Number: ZD05035

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The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award for 14–24 year-olds, with over 490,000 young people currently doing their DofE in the UK. 

Any young person aged 14-24 can take part, with the deadline for activities being the 25th birthday, although the goal for Bronze and Silver is to complete in a year. Young people doing their DofE programme complete volunteering, physical and skills activities and an expedition to achieve Bronze and Silver Awards, plus a residential section to achieve a Gold Award. 

Where age requirements are met, “Direct Entry” is possible to the Silver or Gold Award without completing previous levels. Direct entrants will be expected to attend first aid, basic campcraft and navigation training sessions to be agreed with those individuals.

  • Bronze, usually Yr9, enrol in September in order to fulfil their training programme.
    • Please be aware that the Open Award Centre is no longer enrolling to the Bronze programme. Interest in undertaking the Award has grown incredibly over the last few years which is marvellous, but this growth is not matched by the number of volunteers available to give up the time needed to qualify to lead and staff Bronze expeditions.
    • Gillingham School are developing their own DofE Programme, starting with Bronze in Sept. 2023 wherein the services of a DofE Expedition Approved Activity Provider (AAP) will be engaged to cover the demands of the expedition section.

The Open Award Centre will continue for enrolled Silver and Gold until the end of August 2024, when it is hoped that Gillingham School will extend delivery to these levels. Enrolment to Silver is now closed. Those interested in Gold must contact dofe@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

There are key training dates that you must attend to go forward to the OAC DofE qualifying expeditions. Dates for 2024 Silver and Gold Expeditions are in the download below and on the Calendar.

Dates and costs for the 2023-24 Expedition events.

Expedition commitment is essential to health and safety. Attendance falling below expectation is likely to result in your expedition being postponed to the following year.

Tents, stoves, and other team equipment is provided. This is made clear on our Kit list

Some personal equipment may be available to borrow. Always ask.

Please speak to us in confidence if costs appear prohibitive. We have access to a small bursary fund and your school may able to help.

It is for the individual to choose and to check that any activity undertaken for the DofE programme is appropriately safeguarded, managed and insured, unless the activity is directly managed or organised by their DofE group, such as the Expedition. We’ve lots of ideas and contacts but cannot organise them for you.

Activities for the Vol, Phys and Skills sections must stretch over the months chosen and average a minimum of one hour a week. These hours cannot be lumped together. The activity must be at least once a month which may suit longer sections. The idea is that they can be fitted in around academic study, hobbies and social lives. Development and regular progress must be shown, and all activities must be completed by the participant’s 25th birthday.


Sections and useful local links

Contact the Centre via email or the participant eDofE account.


Please annotate any payment clearly with the participant’s name and what its for!

BACs – Bank: Gillingham DofE OAC. sort code 30.98.97 (Lloyds) a/c 47830260

Cheque – made out to Gillingham DofE OAC.


Gillingham DofE OAC Mission Statement

Guidance for safer recruitment and working practice for those working with young people May 2019

DofE Safeguarding code of behaviour for adults and young helpers

Bullying Policy

Participation Statement

Complaints Procedure