Continuing your DofE: FAQs for participants

We recognise that this is a worrying time for everyone, and you may be concerned about how you will continue your DofE and achieve your Award, amongst many other things.

If you can, it’s important to stay healthy and active during this time and continuing with your DofE activities can help with this – even if you’re not attending your usual meetings.

As your usual activities may be cancelled, below is some advice and Q&As to help you continue with your programme. However, please remember that all activities must still be approved by your DofE Leader, and that your parents/carers/guardians (if under-18) are happy for you to do them.

You may also decide to take a break from your activities and pick them up again later on, and that is fine too. Don’t forget: you’ve got until you’re 25 to achieve your Award, and if you’re near your 25th birthday please speak to your DofE Leader about an age extension.

Contact your Assessor for each section for ideas on how you can continue your activity away from your usual sessions, or at home.

Also, remember that you are able to change your activity if you can no longer continue your current one, but you will need to get approval from your DofE Leader first. To do this, simply change the activity on your eDofE account and submit it to your Leader for approval. However, you must also ensure you get a report from the Assessor of your current activity to record what you have done so far, and then find an Assessor who can sign off your new activity.

Download our simple flowchart which helps to explain this process.

How do I contact my DofE Leader, or section Assessor, if my school / club / group is closed?

This will depend on your situation and any prior arrangements made with your DofE Leader and section Assessors. You may have an email address or contact number you can use to call or send a text, or use the messaging service on eDofE (remember to use the app or log-on to your eDofE account to check if you have any messages!). You might also consider setting up a messaging group on social media with other participants from your DofE group so you can share ideas, motivate each other and stay in touch during this time. Remember that eDofE is a really useful tool for messaging your DofE Leader if your usual DofE meetings are cancelled, as well as recording evidence of the activities you are doing.

I can’t do my physical activity because the club has closed and my team’s training sessions are cancelled – how can I continue with my Physical section?

Remember, only continue with any physical activity you are doing for your DofE if you are feeling fit and healthy.

If your regular activity isn’t on at the moment, there are lots of ways you can continue maintaining relevant strength and fitness. Whilst mass gatherings must be avoided, you could consider walking or running in your local area – or even doing a workout (or practising your sport) in your garden or local park. Apps like Strava or Google Fit can help you monitor your activities and provide evidence for your Assessor.

There are also lots of fitness sessions and classes that can be followed online (on YouTube) and done within your home; from pilates to learning dance routines, bootcamps to HIIT workouts. You can record a list of the ones you do and keep a record of your hours using the Physical section activity log.

Remember to seek approval from your DofE Leader before you start.

Can I continue my volunteering activity if I have to stay at home?

This will depend on the activity you are doing for your Volunteering section. Remember to ask your Assessor if there is anything you can do to support the organisation you’re volunteering for whilst you are at home; this may be helping with social media campaigns, working on their website, designing flyers or materials or writing reports or documents. Although it may not be what you usually do, there are lots of ways charities and organisations might still benefit from your support even if you’re at home.

If you can’t continue your activity, then remember you can either take a break, or change activity (see above). You may also decide to change activity if you are able to volunteer to help your local community at this challenging time. But don’t forget to seek approval from your DofE Leader first.

My neighbour is self-isolating, can I help do their shopping for my Volunteering section?

Yes, if you’re unable to continue your regular volunteering activity during this time, then helping others in your community can count towards your Volunteering section. This may include picking up shopping or urgent supplies for a neighbour who is self-isolating (although remember to follow guidance on social distancing and hand washing), donating items that are requested by local organisations, or participating in any other local campaigns to ensure others are well looked after.

Remember to get approval from your Leader first, and to keep a log of the activities you do using the Volunteering section activity log, and always follow the latest NHS guidance.

You will also need to consider who your Assessor will be; it could be the neighbour you are helping, another volunteer, your DofE Leader or a family friend who has an understanding of what you are doing.

Are there any other volunteering activities I can do at home?

If you’re unable to continue with your volunteering activity, or are looking to start your section, there are a number of charities who provide volunteering opportunities that can be done from home. A number of these are delivered by our Approved Activity Providers, such as mapping for Missing Maps, doing a social action project with Leonard Cheshire, becoming an Energy Envoy or taking part in a fundraising programme for BHF. There are many others too, but always check with your DofE Leader before your start. For more information of current opportunities ran by AAPs please go to the Opportunity Finder.

Again, don’t forget to get your Leader’s approval before you change activities.

I’ve found a new volunteering activity I can complete, but it will be difficult to do one hour per week. Can I do a few hours per month, rather than a day per week?

Although we encourage all participants to do their activities weekly, it may be that if your activity has been cancelled or changed due to the coronavirus outbreak, it is more beneficial to do an activity for one day (4-6 hours) per month. Although this is more common for Silver and Gold levels, it is also accepted at Bronze, and you should ask your DofE Leader and get their approval if this is something you’d like to do.

My Leader has suggested that I condense my hours for an activity to one day a month, rather than one hour per week. Does this mean I spend less time doing it?

As your Leader has suggested, you can choose to do your section activities less regularly, but for a longer period – so instead of doing an hour each week, you could think about doing two hours every other week if that fits better with your chosen activity.  

If you choose to do thisthe total hours you spend doing the activity must be at least the same (you may choose to do more hours of course!).  Also, remember that the activity must still be spread across the number of months you’ve chosen to spend on that section 

For example, if you are doing your Volunteering section for six months at Silver level starting in April 2020, you must do a minimum of a day each month (at least four to six hours) until your earliest completion date – which in this case would be October 2020. 

Your Leader will be able to give you more guidance on this topic.  

Can I continue my Skills section activity from home?

If your regular session for your Skills section isn’t running at the moment, speak to your DofE Leader or Assessor to find out what you can do at home. This may include extra practising (if you are playing an instrument, doing a performing art, doing games/recreational activity) or further research and project work.

I haven’t started my Skills section, what activities can be done from home?

There are lots of activities for the Skills section that can be done from home, from cooking or playing an instrument, to learning a new language or drawing / painting. You can see a list of programme ideas here for more inspiration.

You will need to get your Leader’s approval before starting, and may want to speak to them about finding an appropriate Assessor for the section; it could be another volunteer that helps run your DofE group, or a family friend who has an interest in your activity. You will need to agree ways to communicate with them remotely, whether that’s emailing, using eDofE or sending evidence of your activity as you progress.

A number of Approved Activity Providers also now run remote learning courses that will fulfil the required timescales, and will provide you with an Assessor.

My residential has been cancelled, can I still achieve my Award?

The organisation you have booked your residential with will be able to advise you on whether it can be postponed, and any refund arrangements. Although it’s really disappointing to have your residential cancelled, you have until your 25th birthday to complete your DofE. Therefore, you will hopefully have plenty of time to rearrange your trip, or find another one in the future.

If you’re nearly 25, make sure you speak to your Leader about an age extension, which will be granted by your DofE Regional or Country Office in these circumstances.

What do I do if my expedition has been cancelled?

Speak to your DofE Leader or Supervisor, as details will depend on your circumstances and expedition arrangements.

Your DofE group may postpone your expedition until later on in the year, or if you are soon to be leaving the organisation you are doing your DofE with, you could also consider joining an Open Expedition in the future, which will enable you to complete the section. Remember that you have until you are 25 to complete your DofE, so even if you will have left your organisation you will be able to join a new group and complete an expedition up until that time.

Remember you can also contact your DofE Region or Country Office for support with your DofE programme.

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