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What is a residential?

This involves spending 5 days and 4 nights away from home on a shared activity with people you’ve never met before. It’s a big, exciting and very fulfilling experience. It may be that you want to build on a talent you’ve developed in another section, learn something completely new on an intensive course or do something to help others.

What sort of thing can I do?

From learning to snowboard in Scotland to helping at a children’s camp, from working with the National Trust to helping on an urban recycling project, or from learning French in Paris to sailing a tall ship, there are loads of exciting possibilities to find the activity that’s just right for you.

Who can I do it with?

The residential is meant to get you doing something different with people you haven’t met before. This means that you’re not meant to do it in a group of people that you already know. If, however, it is only a couple of you joining a large group, then there’s likely to be some leeway there.

How do I get started?

Once you’ve found a residential you want to do and the person running it, or another adult there, has agreed to be your Assessor you MUST get approval from us first, otherwise it won’t be allowed. Once you’ve got the green light, you can make all your arrangements. Don’t forget to remind them when you get there that you want your time with them to count towards your Gold DofE programme and meet with your Assessor!

Steps to Doing your Residential Section.

  1. Find an initial idea from our lists (below) or from the Official DofE Residential Ideas List.
  2. Check it meets the criteria on the Residential Checklist. - If your planned activity obviously doesn't meet the criteria, try thinking of other ideas and then checking against the Residential Checklist again. If you think it does meet all the criteria or if you're not quite sure then fill in the Residential Programme Planner and proceed to the next step.
  3. Contact us, specifically your DofE Leader who manages your eDofE approvals (likely to be the Vice-President) and ask them to check it is valid.
  4. If you have the go-ahead from your DofE Leader, upload your planned residential to eDofE and then make the necessary arrangements to take part in the Residential activity.
  5. Do your residential and ask one of the people running the Residential Activity to fill out an Assessors Report (if they have not filled one out before show them this information).

Residential Ideas

Check out a huge range of current opportunities here, adapted from the DofE website:

For more ideas, see the Official DofE Residential Ideas List. Below, we have put together a few of our favourites:

Helping Others
  • Assist at a summer camp for children, e.g with Brownies.
  • Charity work in under-developed communities.
  • Helping out on a pilgrimage, eg. HCPT to Lourdes.
  • Any course when you stay away from home eg. Language course in France, sports course
Activity Based
  • Stewarding at a music festival
  • Helping the National Trust on a “ Working Holiday
  • Spending a week on a boat, with Ocean Youth Trust South for example
  • White-water rafting/ horse trek etc


YHA (Residential Opportunities)

We regularly receive information from various organisations regarding possible residential opportunities. If you are looking for some ideas for what to do for the Residential section of your award, check out the list below.

  • Operation Wallacea - Biological and social science expedition projects that operate in remote locations in Indonesia, Honduras, Peru, Cuba, Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Guyana, and Mexico. These expeditions are designed with specific wildlife conservation aims in mind, from identifying areas needing protection, through to implementing and assessing conservation management programmes.
  • Volunteer Uganda - a unique non-profit organisation that gives enthusiastic, bright young people the opportunity to teach in our partner primary schools for between six and twelve weeks. Our programme generates funds for our partner charities which built and run four primary schools, a secondary school and a college in the Bwindi region of Uganda. These institutions make good quality education a reality for approximately two thousand people and volunteers play an integral role in this. As well as having a profound impact on the local community, VU also provides amazing opportunities to students, combining effective volunteering with exciting once in a lifetime opportunities.
  • Canal Camp (Waterway Recovery Group) - A Canal Camp is an enjoyable week's outdoor holiday spent working on the canals. It's a great opportunity to meet all sorts of new people from all walks of life, of all ages and from all over the country and abroad, as well as learning new skills. Details of Canal Camps 2014 can be found here.
  • TCV Residential Weeks - TCV has programmed in one more of its Natural Break residential weeks in 2013 specifically for The Duke of Edinburgh's Award members. The dates are Monday 28th October to Friday 1st November inclusive. This will be held at the most spectacular beaches off of the South Devon coast. The week will comprise of a mix of litter collection/surveying and educational activities. The cost of the week - currently approx £265 - includes all meals at the accommodation, and covers the cost of insurance and trained leaders. Participants will need to get to Plymouth railway station to be picked up, or make their own way to the base.