Duke of Edinburgh

Step up to serve

Main Navigation

Volunteer for the DofE here!


Step Up To Serve is a national campaign to inspire a generation of young people through increasing the quality, quantity and frequency of social action for all young people aged between 10 and 20. In this context social action means practical action in the service of others – of double benefit to young people themselves and the community.

The goal is to double the number of young people participating in social action to over 50% by 2020. That is an additional 1.7 million young people engaging in social action.

The campaign brings together leaders from across the UK, led by HRH The Prince of Wales, and with support from all of the main political parties.

It will commission research, establish an agreed quality standard for youth social action programmes, share best practice and facilitate sustained leadership of youth social action. The campaign will not be a grant giving body. As the world’s leading achievement award for young people, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is proud to be part of the Step up to Serve campaign.


Where the DofE fits in...

Thousands of youth groups across the UK deliver DofE programmes and thereby support hundreds of thousands of young people to volunteer in their local communities. The demand for the DofE outweighs their capacity and we estimate that they need another 30,000 adult volunteers to enable us to achieve our ambition of supporting 500,000 DofE participants each year (currently 300,000).

We want to encourage adults to work with the youth organisations in their local community to provide the support to help young people. That could be through the well-established uniformed organisations such as Scouts, Guides and cadets or local youth groups in faith groups, youth clubs and sports associations.

The DofE will do all it can to work with our UK-wide network of partner organisations to increase capacity.


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will:

  • Step up and help all young people to have every opportunity to serve others by growing the availability of the DofE programme so that by 2020 there will be 500,000 young people participating.
  • Work with the Step Up To Serve campaign on a call to action for the 30,000 extra adult volunteers who would be needed to join our partner organisations in order to support that volume of participants.


click to enlarge

HRH The Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition joined 50 inspiring young people at Buckingham Palace today to launch Step Up To Serve. The new independent collaborative campaign aims to increase opportunities for young people to get involved in social action. Fiona Lewellyn-Beard is in the white top, second from right!

Photo: Alastair Fyfe

The DofE's CEO, Peter Westgarth, chats with HRH Prince Charles.

Case Studies

Case Study - Sam White Size: [121 KB] File Type: [.pdf]
Fiona Lewellyn-Beard case study Size: [70 KB] File Type: [.pdf]
Wetherby prison case study Size: [79 KB] File Type: [.pdf]


Case studies

Kyle Kinsella, 19, DofE #iwill Ambassador

Before I started doing my DofE around three years ago, I had hardly any confidence and didn’t socialise much outside of school. I decided to get involved in the DofE mainly because I liked the idea of camping, not realising just how much of an impact it would have on my life.

Now, I feel like a completely different person. As part of my Bronze and Silver programmes I volunteered for Phab Hounslow, a local youth club encouraging people of all abilities to come together on equal terms. I now spend 10 hours a week volunteering there, helping young people build communication and life skills, and it’s inspired me to become a youth worker. I’m currently studying for my BTEC Level 3 extended diploma in Health and Social Care, as well as working towards my Gold DofE Award.

A blog from Nadine Thomas, DofE #iwill Ambassador

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has really broadened my experiences and allowed me to develop as a person. For my Gold Volunteering section, I helped with the running of a local Brownie Unit. Whilst doing this, I also worked towards my Adult Leaders qualification in Girlguiding. I soon became aware of the DofE Young Leaders programme in Wales and participated in this. I was then able to help my county DofE Adviser for Girlguiding and encourage more young women to participate in their own DofE programme.

Both awards have given me the opportunity to lead teams, organise activities for others and grow in confidence. They also helped me develop my organisation and leadership skills, which will play a big part in my future career – I am doing a Degree in Youth and Community Work.

I now encourage members of Girlguiding to start their DofE Awards and help them choose what they want to participate in for each section, finding appropriate assessors. I support a local group on a weekly basis and help other members of Girlguiding in my county including Guide/Senior Section Leaders. I also help in the training and supervising of Bronze and Silver Groups for their expeditions, using the skills I developed from my Gold DofE Award and through the Young Leaders programme.

I am an #iwill Ambassador for Step Up To Serve and my main aim is to encourage young people to participate in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and help them to achieve their Awards, which I am passionate about and am fully committed to. I have gained so many new experiences and the DofE programme has helped me develop as a person. I now feel I am ready and able to give back, support and encourage others within my community to achieve this fantastic Award and help them develop as a person by providing them with the opportunity to take part.


"Why I volunteer..."

In line with the campaign’s aim to instil volunteering as a habit for life amongst young people, the DofE has found that many participants continue to volunteer even after completing their Award.

Fiona Llewellyn-Beard is a Bronze, Silver and Gold Award holder who has continued to volunteer as a Girlguiding Leader, setting up her own unit, a Network Scout, a first aider with St John Ambulance and a child protection officer at volunteering group, CHaOS.

Explaining why she has gone on to become an adult volunteer after completing her DofE programmes, Fiona explained:

“The DofE really inspired me to get involved in more volunteering. Every young person has the right to reach their potential. With the right support and adult help, they can achieve what is best for them and its really rewarding to be able to help them get there.”
Fiona chats with Prince Charles at the launch on 21 November 2013.

"Why we support the DofE"


A long-standing partner of ten years is public services provider, Amey plc. Since introducing Gold DofE programmes to its apprentices in April 2010, Amey’s participants have volunteered 10,500 hours to local not-for-profit organisations.

Speaking about the positive impact the Volunteering section has had at Amey, Adrian Barrett, HR Business Partner at Amey, said:

“I am very passionate about the DofE. The benefits are immeasurable to the business and to our apprentices. Both they and their managers get a lot out the Volunteering section and feel very proud that they are giving back and helping others. 73% continue their volunteering after achieving their DofE Award. We see improved retention, progression, personal growth, resilience and maturity as key business benefits.”

"Why we offer the DofE"

Wetherby Young Offenders Institute (YOI), West Yorkshire, has been delivering Bronze DofE programmes since 1997, with 23 trainees achieving their Bronze Award in the last three years, alone. Despite the challenges a YOI setting presents, the institute’s DofE Co-ordinator and Physical Education Officer, Paul Brown, has worked with colleagues to offer transformational DofE programmes, with great results for both the institution and in rehabilitating the young trainees.

Every young person who takes part in their Bronze DofE programme will complete a Volunteering section, requiring at least three months undertaking service to individuals or the community.

For those who are not permitted to leave the institution confines, they can contribute to the institute’s community by helping out at the establishment’s bird of prey centre or assisting at internal sporting events and family days. Those who are allowed into the community help to improve the lives of local elderly people through ‘The Wise Project’, doing their gardening while accompanied by a member of staff.