Voluntary Service

Young man and woman working on a farm.

The Voluntary Service section of The Duke of Ed helps you develop a sense of community by volunteering to help others.

Depending on the service you choose, you may have to complete some training. This can range from a simple briefing session through to a specialised training course.

Activity ideas

  • Help at a youth group
  • Help at a charity organisation
  • Take care of walking tracks, parks or wildlife
  • Take a first-aid course, then volunteer as a first-aider
  • Help at an animal shelter
  • Help in the school library
  • Make a difference to the lives of those less fortunate
  • Help at a hospital or nursing home
  • Fundraising.

For more ideas, check out the list of Award activities (PDF, 226.3 KB) or (RTF, 7.4 MB) .


  • Choose a Voluntary Service that reflects your interests, talents and capabilities.
  • Choose something that challenges you and builds on previous experiences.
  • Choose more than 1 activity if you need to.
  • Discuss your activity ideas with your Award Leader before you start to make sure they will be accepted.
  • Make sure your Voluntary Service activity is unpaid.

Time commitment

You need to do an average of 1 hour per week in your chosen activity over a minimum period of:

  • Bronze level—3 months (6 months if you choose Voluntary Service as your major*)
  • Silver level—6 months (12 months for direct entrants** who choose Voluntary Service as their major*)
  • Gold level—12 months (18 months for direct entrants** who choose Voluntary Service as their major*).

*A major is an award section for which you have to complete an extra 3 to 6 months of activity (the length of time depends on your award level). Only new participants need to complete a major—that is, all Bronze participants as well as direct entrants at the Silver and Gold levels. You can choose 1 of Voluntary Service, Skills or Physical Recreation as your major.

**A direct entrant means you have not completed the level below the one you are entering (Bronze for Silver; Silver for Gold).

Helpful information