The Volunteering Section

The Volunteering Section gives you opportunities to make a difference to other people's lives.  This can be one of the most rewarding sections of the Award - the more you give, the more satisfaction and enjoyment you will get out of it.  Visit the Volunteering section of the DofE website for further information. You can download two very useful pdf files - a programme planner and a list of Volunteering section ideas. There are some additional local ideas below.

Haysden Country Park

Rachel Cantwell who is the Park Ranger for Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council is able to use volunteers to help in places like Haysden Country Park doing all sorts of things from tree planting to cutting back undergrowth.  Her contact details are mobile tel: 07769 672129 email: Cantwell.rachel@yahoo.co.uk

Bradbourne Group Riding for the Disabled

Based in Sevenoaks, the Bradbourne Group of the Riding for the Disabled Association is one of the largest RDA groups in the country and is run entirely by unpaid volunteers. They don’t operate at the weekend but they have an ongoing need for volunteers to help with their Monday – Thursday evening rides.

RDA provides friendship, healthy exercise, hands-on contact with horses and a warm glow (and yes, occasionally, rather muddy feet). You don’t have to be really ‘horsey’ – you just need to feel comfortable around horses. Students planning a career in the veterinary or caring professions will find that experience as an RDA volunteer is highly valued by admissions tutors and potential employers.

Training is provided in line with national RDA policy and once training has been completed you will receive a certificate from RDA National Office. Should you wish, you can also take part in the British Equestrian Federation’s YELA award (Young Equestrian Leaders Award) in parallel with your Duke of Edinburgh’s volunteering.

You can contact the Bradbourne Group RDA either via their website or by email at contact@bradbourne-rda.org.uk

Emmetts Garden - near Sevenoaks

My name is Kate Meyer and I'm a visitor experience assistant working for  Emmetts, a National Trust property near to Sevenoaks. We are very keen to have a few more youngsters volunteering with us. We can offer all sorts of experience, from events and visitor focussed work, to gardening and administration. Since we are a garden property we are pretty relaxed here at Emmetts, and a very friendly team. We can provide  students with cups of tea on tap, lots of fresh air, and something interesting to put on their CV.

P.S. If you decide to do this, you will be more use going for at least 4 hours once a month, rather than for just an hour a week!  Please make sure you go 13 times, to ensure you do at least 12 calender months.

Tonbridge Cottage Hospital

Tonbridge Cottage Hospital would welcome volunteer help in the hospital.  If you are considering a medical career, help on the wards could be a valuable experience. You would have to have to have a DBS certificate, which can be organised.

The Hospital would also appreciate help with maintenance of the grounds. This would provide experience if you are considering a career in care of the environment or like being out of doors.

Contact sarah.cook2@nhs.net (Admin)or friederike.stenning@nhs.net (Therapy Lead) or phone 01732 353653

Tonbridge Parkrun

Tonbridge parkrun (www.parkrun.org.uk/tonbridge) is a free 5k timed event that takes place every Saturday morning at 9am. We have runners, joggers and walkers alike with participants ranging between 6yrs and 82yrs old.
As a free event we rely on volunteers to help run the event making sure that each run operates smoothly and safely for all the participants.  The participants are extremely appreciative of the volunteers and you will find that you will be getting a lot of ‘thank-you’s’ and high fives!
Volunteers meet at around 8:20am each Saturday morning for a quick briefing and will be finished by 10.00am, you don’t have to commit to every weekend but we find that many of our volunteers have so much fun that they can’t stay away! 
What will you have to do? First, and most importantly, we never ask anybody to do anything they're not comfortable with. If you don't want a particular task, please let us know and we will happily give you an alternative job. Nevertheless, none of our tasks are too stressful. You could be organising the finish funnel, operating the timer, or scanning the runners' barcodes with our simple barcode readers; we try to start people out on a general marshalling type job, so they get a feel for how we operate. But if you really want to do something in particular, please let us know and we'll see what we can do.
If you would like to get involved then please either email Liza or Anthony (tonbridgehelpers@parkrun.com) or message us on Facebook

Energy Envoy

 This is a  new volunteering opportunity which enables young people to help their community to use energy more wisely, save money and reduce carbon emissions.

·         Online energy tutorial

·         Step-by-step guides

·         One-to-one email support

Through volunteering, participants can conduct an energy audit, organise an energy awareness campaign or run an energy saving competition. There are step-by-step guides for all sorts of projects which can be carried out in, for example, a local school, college, church, business, shop or venue.

Energy Envoys is endorsed by the UK’s leading professional engineering institutions and is provided by the National Energy Foundation, a DofE Approved Activity Provider.

You can download an introductory leaflet here 

Participants can find out more and sign up at www.energyenvoys.org.uk

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PLEASE NOTE : Tonbridge Gold does not specifically endorse or recommend volunteering opportunities.  It is for participants and their parents to satisfy themselves as to the quality and nature of the programmes listed.