Duke of Edinburgh Award Volunteering

Thank you for your interest in fulfilling your Duke of Edinburgh volunteer time by helping the Final Straw Foundation! We are very happy that you would like to spend some of your hours supporting our charity. We have pulled together some of the typical opportunities that we can offer to help you meet your target as part of your Bronze, Silver or Gold volunteer section. You can stick to one type of activity or combine several – it’s up to you. All we ask is that you keep a record (activity, date and number of hours) of the time spent on any of these activities so that we can ensure we sign off your hours correctly.

Please read through the ideas below and then register to let us know you are interested in volunteering for our charity as part of your D of E volunteer section.

Any information you can provide us with to help us write your report on the DofE Assessors portal is welcomed. Please see tips for this in italics in each section.

  1. Beach, countryside or urban litter picking.
    If you are interested in getting out in the fresh air and doing something positive for the environment, why not get out litter picking? You can either go along to pre-organised public beach or countryside cleans (find ours here: https://finalstrawfoundation.org/get-involved/beach-cleans/) or go with family or friends separately. In the case of the latter, we can lend you a litter picker, gloves and a reusable bag (as well as some disposable bags if needed) for you to do this activity. We will provide you with written guidance on how to go out litter picking safely as part of this activity.

    Tip: Make a note of the date, location and number of hours each time you go litter picking. Jot down roughly how much you picked up (eg. half a bag of rubbish), what the most common item of litter was that you picked up and anything else of interest. Please supply a couple of photos as evidence.

  2. Borrow Bag Scheme.
    Would you like to help reduce the number of single-use plastic bags that are used in our area? If so, you can help us with our Borrow Bag scheme. The idea behind the scheme is that we make reusable fabric bags from pre-loved fabric (curtains, duvet covers, offcuts etc) that might otherwise have ended up in landfill. We give the finished bags out to local shops that are part of the scheme. The shops give them to customers who have forgotten to take their own reusable bag, rather than giving out plastic bags. The customers can either keep them or take them back to the shop (or any participating shop) for someone else to use next time.

    We need volunteers who can:
    – cut the fabric to the correct size (main section, handles) and roll up ready for people to sew them
    – sew the bags together
    – or both!

    This could be done at home, or you could ask if you could start a group at school if your school has equipment (sewing machines etc.) that could help. Alternatively, if you would like to help start a group in your local area please let us know.

    Tip: Make a note of the date and number of hours each time you work on the Borrow Bag scheme. Jot down how many bags you have cut out or made. Please supply a couple of photos as evidence.

  3. Fundraising.
    Could you fundraise for our charity? You can use your volunteer hours to run a fundraiser – perhaps a cake sale, bike ride, run or any other ideas you may have. You can use JustGiving to fundraise for us if this is something that appeals – find us at
    justgiving.com/finalstrawfdn or let us know if you would rather fundraise offline.

    Tip: Make a note of the date and number of hours each time you work on your fundraising activity. Let us know how you are fundraising and how much funding you raised for the charity.

  4. Make bug, bird or hedgehog houses
    If you are keen on craft or woodwork, you can help us by making bug, bird or hedgehog houses. Our insects and birds are under increasing pressure from pollution and habitat loss and hedgehogs are sadly now on the critically endangered red list.

    There are some useful instructions on how to make these houses online.

    For hedgehogs, take a look here: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-build-hedgehog-home

    For birds, you can follow the RSPB guidelines here: https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-families/family-wild-challenge/activities/build-a-birdbox/
    and a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dKRxtJUJT8

    For bug houses, there is a good video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpau_m2OCaE

    You can do this from home if you have the equipment to do so, or ask a member of your family or friends if they have a workshop or equipment that you could use. Please be aware that you may need adult supervision on these projects. Please use any scrap materials that you have to make these items, or ask around your network if you do not have them. If you can’t find any suitable materials, please let us know and we will see if we can help.

    You can keep these items if you have somewhere to put them, or let us know when they are finished and we can find a home for them – most likely a local school or other community space.

    Tip: Make a note of the date and number of hours each time you work on this project. Jot down how you get on, any obstacles and how you have overcome them.  Please supply a couple of photos as evidence.

  5. Art, social media, photography and words
    If you are interested in art, social media, photography/film or writing, you could help the charity by using your skills to raise awareness of the impact of pollution on our wildlife and oceans, to highlight community action or to increase the profile of the charity.

    Ideas include:
    – Make posters or artwork that the charity could use in public spaces and online
    – Create videos, film short pieces for social media or take photos that the charity can use (you will be credited if these are used unless you do not wish to be).
    – Writing: you could write poems that the charity can use online, blog posts or persuasive letters to highlight the issue of ocean health and the impact of pollution to manufacturers, politicians or other key figures. You would be credited with these unless you did not wish to be.

    If this project appeals, please get in touch with us so that we can chat through the best direction for your work and if we have any particular topics that we would love for you to work on.

    Tip: Make a note of the date and number of hours each time you work on any of these projects. Keep a rough record of how much research you have done to enable you to create your project.  Please send us copies of your writing / film / photos etc.