The Residential Section

The residential section of the Award involves spending 5 days and 4 nights away from home on a shared activity with people you’ve never met before. It should be a very exciting and fulfilling experience. You could develop a talent, learn something completely new or do something to help other people.

Visit the Residential section of the DofE website for further information. You can download three very useful pdf files - a programme planner, a section checklist (essential reading) and a list of Residential section ideas. There are some additional ideas below. Some of them are listed below with links to the appropriate websites. In many cases they have been recommended by Gold participants.  However, please note that they are not specifically endorsed by Tonbridge Gold and you must do your own research as to their suitibility.  

In the past, Kent has had a number of completed Gold Awards rejected because of issues with the Residential Activity. The following 'topics' are amongst those rejected :

  • Stewarding at Music Festivals;
  • Home stays, such as exchanges;
  • School trips, such as helping with their own Centre's Bronze expedition events or activity weeks;
  • Curriculum related activities, such as Geography Field Trips and
  • Work experience such as internships.

Any completed books and forms submitted with any of the above will be rejected, irrespective of when the activity took place. Therefore ALL RESIDENTIALS must be approved by the Licensed Organisation, Kent County Council, in advance of the residential taking place. Please contact Norry Barber, County DofE Manager, at the office by e-mail ( with the following information, at least one month before it is due to take place. 

  • Participant's name;
  • DofE Centre (i.e. Tonbridge Gold);
  • Details of the proposed activity;
  • Who is the provider/organisation offering the opportunity;
  • Where is it taking place
  • The dates of the event.

Adventures at Sea

Take a DofE gold residential with Adventures at Sea and have the time of your life exploring the iconic Solent while developing practical sailing skills and making new friends.  A careful mix of practical (on the water) and, if you want to go further, online and classroom based courses' mean that we offer solid, life enhancing, CV bolstering, totally memorable experiences.  With just five participants to each of our smart modern spacious yachts you will have every opportunity to be fully involved with the running of the vessel from helming and trimming the sails to night pilotage into harbour.

DofE Leadership Academy

Combined Residential and Volunteering opportunity

This residential is an excellent opportunity to develop your DofE knowledge and leadership ability to then go on to volunteer as an effective leader within your DofE group.  On the residential you will live alongside fellow aspiring leaders from across the South East and undergo training in several aspects of being a DofE leader.  The 2016 dates will be published soon.  Swattenden Centre, Kent.  Further details here.

Riding for the Disabled

For participants in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme, time spent helping with RDA at Bradbourne in Sevenoaks on a regular basis qualifies for the Service element of the award. In addition, helping with a residential summer camp can be used as the Residential component of the Gold award.

3H Holidays for Disabled People

Have you ever considered getting into the world of helping others - people who rely on the likes of you to give them life-changing opportunities that would not normally be available to them? A week of your time as a holiday volunteer carer with 3H Holidays for Disabled People will not only help a disabled person, but also their regular carer who will be able to have a much needed period of respite.

Peat Rigg - North York Moors - adventure activities

Peat Rigg was well worth the money and I also completed the John Muir Award whilst I was there, which was really enjoyable! We did conservation of wildlife, and also activities like archery, high ropes and mountain biking - overall a really good five days! Plus the leaders were fantastic!” Emma - August 2012


Chicks is an organisation providing activity holidays in Devon or Cornwall for disadvantaged kids from Inner London - hard work, but very rewarding & enjoyable. They actively seek volunteers to help with their one week holidays. “I've just returned from my week with CHICKS; it was a really enjoyable week and so rewarding although it seems so quiet now without the kids running round! I received some lovely feedback from the leaders and would definitely consider returning in the future, it was so lovely to see some of the children's confidence grow throughout the week.” Kim July 2012


CookAbility is a week-long cooking course, taught by two ladies in Somerset. “I stayed at their house with other participants who were all doing their Gold DofE as well. Every day we cooked a variety of dishes and learnt a lot of new skills that have proved really useful for cooking at university. The dishes we cooked varied in difficulty but the recipes we were given were easy to follow. The main aim was to be able to cook delicious food on a budget. I met some really lovely, friendly people and have stayed in touch with a few of them. Besides cooking, you also get plenty of free time to relax and it is a lot of fun. It is not cheap but well worth it as the price includes your accommodation and meals and all the ingredients you need. I would really recommend it to anyone!” Rosie - October 2010

Flora's Kitchen

"I had an amazing time at Flora's Kitchen. I was originally worried about attending the course as I thought it was rather a lot of money to pay just to learn to cook! However it was so much more than that. Flora the chef was so welcoming and whilst preparing the 20+ dishes we cooked each day I learnt not only the basics, but many other useful tips that I will remember for life! We produced a vast range of dishes from Asian food to banana cake and with the amount of food I took away with me I definitely will not be needing to use my new leant skills anytime soon, but I know that when I do, I will definitely be prepared." Jo - September 2017


Vitalise provides inspirational group holidays in the UK and worldwide for sighted and visually impaired, partially blind and blind holidaymakers. They actively seek volunteers to help with their one week holidays.

"I really enjoyed my time at Vitalise. It's a tough week, with long hours but rewarding at the end of the week. The staff make you feel very welcome and I made friends with the guests and volunteers alike."  Emma - May 2014

Waterway Recovery Group

Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has helped restore many derelict waterways throughout Britain and runs week long canal camps.


Woodlarks - helping with camping and activity holidays for the disabled. “I would certainly recommend it, I had a fantastic time and will definitely be going back next year!” Teona July 2012

Taster courses for University

These are OK if they are 5 days and 4 nights.  One example of a University taster course is Villiers Park. If you have an idea about what you want to do at Uni, you can try and link it in with that, to enhance your experience and help you decide if it is the right subject for you.

"Villiers Park, Cambridge, was really good. I did a chemistry course and I found it interesting. A course will help determine whether you enjoy a subject or not, as will the people. The facilities are very good, as is the food and I would recommend a course to anyone struggling for a residential who also needs something for their personal statement/UCAS form. It was fairly expensive though." Felix, September 2012

The National Citizen Service

The National Citizen Service is offering a 4 week program over the summer which enables young people to both challenge themselves and to make a difference in their wider communities. More Information is available here The National Citizen Service.pdf

The Rona Sailing Project

The Rona Sailing Project is one of the oldest Sail Training organisations in the UK, established for over 50 years. Further information about the project along with contact details are available on the Official Dofe Website.

The Sail Training Voyage and is a week long, setting off from Southampton. Dependent on weather, most trips get the chance to cross the channel to visit Cherbourg and then some Channel Islands, as well as some of the south coast. On my trip, there were about 20 people onboard. The crew were split into two watches of six people with a young leader who knows how to sail. The first day was training in the Solent, before setting off early in the morning to cross the channel to Cherbourg. After spending a night there, we went to Alderney before crossing the channel back to Poole and then  back to Southampton. I made very good friends on that trip who I still see now. If you perform well, you get the chance to be a watch leader and stay within the organisation, so it is great for people who want to get involved with sailing, but can't afford to do it off their own back.  (The organisation also offers cheap courses such as day skipper). The food is great and everybody is very friendly and helpful. They don't expect master sailors, but only that you try your hardest! - Felix 2013

The Youth Hostel Association

The YHA offers Residential weeks & will often contribute to travel costs. See
During the time at Coniston Holly How I was able to work in a team of people to complete a range of different tasks around the hostel. This involved gardening, painting, general cleaning and clearing the campsite. I also volunteered with another volunteer to go to YHA Ambleside where we offered our help in a different environment for the day. The experience was great and I really enjoyed meeting new people and there was definitely a sense of accomplishment as we saw the work we were doing around the hostel. This residential helped improve my independence, communication and teamwork skills as it was essential to work with the other volunteers to ensure the tasks were completed efficiently. I really enjoyed the experience and would happily do it again! - Mairi 2016