Volunteering is simple. It’s about helping those in need, the environment, or animals without getting paid (apart from expenses). It’s 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.

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 it’s a partnership, corporation, entrepreneur, or sole trader. Organisations must 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 about Volunteering will help you.

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 organisationVolunteer Agreement between DofE Participant and Organisation

If you complete this section at home or independently, use the LOGSHEET for eDofE evidence


Any section can be done with others. Knowing this might help the less confident.

School is a community organisation. There are clubs, committees, working groups, younger students, the library, school events/productions, litter picks etc where helping makes all the difference

Online volunteering can work well. Lots have enjoyed people powered research like Projects – Zooniverse (not all about animals!!); Missing MapsAdopt a GrandparentPost PalsKissing it Better; writing to isolated people across the globe;  Postcards of Kindness | Discover | Age UK;

You can use the DofE opportunity finder to find remote/distance opportunities

Find your parish or Town council website and then look for the community groups or clubs tab. Contact those of interest which might need help to run or promote themselves or to fundraise

Dorset and Wilts are under the Diocese of Salisbury – here are parish councils and parish priests 

Find the local Facebook community page and keep an eye on it for postings from local groups which might need a helping hand. 

Is there a library nearby? Volunteer withDorset libraries – Dorset Council

Helping at home – this really needs to be something like mentoring a younger sibling, coaching a family member into a new skill, or being a young carer. It is NOT about doing chores. 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

Health care (min age 16, sometimes 19)  

16+ Do IT | Connecting people to do good things 

https://www.helpandkindness.co.uk/Dorset based growing website where you can look for groups to join and help alongside,

DofE Volunteering pages include:

Volunteering from home – or remotely

Volunteering – General ideas and downloads such as the Activity Log

LifeZone – Volunteering – How volunteering opens all sorts of doors

Volunteering ideas for under 16s 


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

Is there someone in your own neighbourhood who is poorly or infirm or must 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. Yours would be a recreational role, not helping staff clean/tidy or prepare/serve food)  

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 to enjoy your own hobbies and interests, ask if there is a time when you could help the younger ones.  or maybe maintain a Facebook or Instagram page / websites for them or a local charity. 

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 Messenger;  Marnhull HubChild OkefordEast StourEast KnoyleWest KnoyleMaiden BradleyWarminsterStalbridgeCrockertonLongbridgeandHillDeverillMereDonheadsCharltonLudwellandtheCoombesFontmell MagnaFifehead MagdalenOkeford FitzpaineIwerne Valley

Community Shops (run by a team of volunteers for the benefit of the community) are in Motcombe , Bishops CaundleThorncombeMaiden 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; Shaftesbury Homegrown 


Gillingham Town Council lists local groups which might appreciate a hand.

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.  

Gillingham’s Youth Club in Cemetery Rd. Use the FB page to ask if they need help.

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 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: DorsetWiltshireSomerset.

Messy Church and events – family fun meetings/events 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. Contact info and events are on the Church website 

The Donkeys and Shetlands Last Home is on the Sherborne Causeway and they’ve a High St shop


There are a large number of clubs in and around Shaftesbury . that could be offered help

The Youth Club at Shaftesbury is on Coppice Street. A bit more information from Help and Kindness. There’s also Motcombe Youth Cub which meets on Fridays.

Little Giants. caters for children and young people with a variety of special needs.

Search the Family Information Service Directory for clubs in the area.

Shaftesbury Homegrown is a community farm. .  


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

Have a look at the tabs “In the Village” and “Nearby” for a wide range of clubs/groups waiting to hear how you might want to help


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) was recently bought by the Countryside Restoration Trust and may need help’


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

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

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 WiltshireDorset Youth Association, and Somerset Youth

Find out what you may be able to offer a Children’s Centre through volunteering. 

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 RailwaySomerset and Dorset Railway at Midsomer NortonSomerset 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? Have a look at the map on this page or ring 01926 492915 or email info@rda.org.uk.

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.

Handy Resources

LOGSHEET for eDofE if you do things at home

Volunteering Section FAQsLIST (DofE) of VOLUNTEERING IDEAS

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