A person cleaning a bottle from a beach

Top D of E Volunteering Ideas

Top D of E Volunteering Ideas

14 May 2024

Volunteering is something we should strive to do throughout our lives. It connects us with our community and encourages and cultivates a positive change, both on a local level and within ourselves. Duke of Edinburgh is one of many fantastic initiatives that create structured volunteering opportunities for young people to give back.

According to the DofE award guidelines, meaningful volunteering has a different definition for everyone. That’s why, as long as you aren’t volunteering for an organisation established for profit, not civic benefit, the possibilities are endless. Additionally, since the COVID-19 pandemic, DofE now allows volunteering from home, which means participants like young carers and young people on probation can get involved too.

Rural Conservation

Whether you live in a small village or a sprawling city, there will always be beautiful green spaces threatened by litter and antisocial behaviour. Becoming engaged with conservation is a great way to mitigate this. The National Trust have a range of opportunities for bronze, silver and gold awards. Some of the rural conservation activities on offer include:

  • Planting flowers and other plants
  • Installing sanctuaries for wildlife like hedgehog houses
  • Surveying and monitoring wildlife habits
  • Improving access to wild spaces by managing footpaths and cutting back growth.

If you live near the beach, there will be many opportunities to improve your area's coastline too. Joining in on the Marine Conservation Society beach cleans is a fantastic way to get involved, and they're happening all over the UK. Plus, even if you're not living close to the coast, most of the litter that ends up in the sea starts its journey from towns and villages like yours. So, pitching in to clean up the waters nearby helps keep our oceans free from rubbish.

Animal Welfare

If animals are your passion, you’re sure to enjoy a volunteering activity focused on their welfare. Many organisations provide opportunities to DofE participants, such as Cats Protection and the National Animal Welfare Trust. This branch of volunteering may give you the chance to feed vulnerable animals, administer medication, help with adoption processes and be a much-appreciated companion.

If you’re interested in taking animal welfare to the next level, why not explore volunteering programmes at zoos? Chester Zoo delivers schemes for young DofE participants which involve creating conservation campaigns and engaging with zoo visitors.


One of the best ways to advance a community is to focus on the youth. We all know how hard school can be and many children across the UK do not have access to the same tools and support as others. Additionally, having time with a fellow young person who has been through the education system recently can be much more constructive than trying to connect to a teacher - that’s why tutoring is often so productive! As a tutor, you’ll begin to understand and adapt to your students’ learning styles, and you’ll likely learn just as much as they do too!

The role itself will also be incredibly rewarding, especially when you start to see the results of your efforts. There are plenty of programmes, such as Action Tutoring, aimed at helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds improve their social mobility.

Mentoring Younger Cadets

Looking after new cadets within your detachment to support them in their training is a great way to volunteer. This could involve helping them learn basic drill movements, showing them how to take care of their uniform, acting as a friendly, supportive face during breaks and helping them to prepare for their first weekend camp.

Other ways you can help younger cadets include:

  • Helping them to learn basic level subjects like badges of rank, the detachment or contingent structure, and who is who within the detachment or contingent.
  • Supporting those who have additional needs and working alongside them in training sessions to ensure they understand the content shared.


Fundraising is a flexible and enjoyable way to help a charity or organisation close to your heart. There are many ways to raise money and awareness like going on a sponsored walk for 1 hour a week, doing sponsored good deeds or even trying to break a world record!

The British Heart Foundation, YHA, and even our own charity ACCT UK, the Army Cadets Charitable Trust, are three examples of charities that do incredible work. They all provide comprehensive fundraising packs, filled with ideas and information, to help get you started.

Leading Army Cadets

If you’re completing the Duke of Edinburgh as an adult (the maximum age to complete the award is 24), the benefits of joining Army Cadets as a volunteer are ample. You’ll learn valuable new skills, make new friends, challenge yourself, and, most importantly, make a difference for young people in your local community.
It’s easy to register your interest, just find a detachment and complete an Expression of Interest form, then we’ll contact you with more details on how to become a volunteer with us!

Image Credit

Beach Clean Up: Marta Ortigosa, used with permission.