The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

We aquired our first Duke of Edinburgh Award volenteer recently: it’s been a fascinating experience.

Partly because there’s a lot I apparently don’t remember since I picked up my own Gold Award (I was completely taken aback by how much it costs), but also because working with a young volenteer is quite the adventure.

Here’s the thing – we’re a very technical charity. The chair is a full time programmer, one of our major projects is entirely online and the COO still writes code every day. We are also very careful with personal information. The question is: how can someone without a skilled background (web design, social media, writing press-releases) or a dbs check, contribute to what we do?

We don’t have much paperwork, or if we do it’s private, dangerous (putting expenses into our bank), or has already been automated. There’s nothing physical to do (My Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, like thousands of others, involved standing behind a till in an Oxfam shop). And, to make everything harder, we’d also like to imagine that we are giving our volenteer some skills during the process.

So we have ended up handing over, in neat packages, the rough and boring digital work that turns out to make quite a difference.


  • The reason that now has a picture, blurb, and link for every single book we have ever done is because our The Duke of Edinburgh volenteer went through and did the all gathering of photos and finding of links.
  • We’ll be able to work with local schools because our The Duke of Edinburgh’s volenteer is going to work through a dozen websites to track down the right people to contact and the right email address.

It’s going to be good for us as an organisation – I want us to be ‘easy to help’ in the same way that Wikipedia is. I want there to be a website with a list of nice little pre-package bits of work that anyone can do. This is a small step in that direction.