Virtual Centre

Oxfordshire Open Award is running a so-called 'Virtual' Centre, which allows young people to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award if they are unable to join a school group or one of the existing Open Groups within the county.

If you would like to enrol in the Virtual Centre, please e-mail, or attend one of the drop-in sessions run by the Virtual Centre (listed below) or by either Abingdon or Kidlington Open Award groups, to get you started.

The enrolment form is available from the Forms page; you may want to complete it and bring it along to the drop-in session.

Drop-in Sessions

In addition to the drop-in sessions run by the other Open Award groups, sessions will be arranged around the county when there is sufficient demand. Details of these sessions will be announced here well in advance.

Operation of the Virtual Centre

The Virtual Centre will operate as follows:

  • We will organise drop-in sessions, probably on a monthly basis, for young people to come along and enrol in the Centre. This will allow the potential participants and their parents/guardians to meet the Centre's leaders face-to-face, and to receive a pack with information about the DofE and how the Virtual Centre will help the participant achieve their Award.

    • Please note: Nobody will be allowed to enrol in the Virtual Centre before this face-to-face meeting has taken place.

    • The drop-in sessions will usually be held at the Abingdon or Kidlington Open Groups, but where there is sufficient demand we will provide extra drop-in sessions around different parts of the county.

  • Each new young person will be given a participation place on receipt of their enrolment fee (see below), and assigned to a named leader, who will be their mentor throughout their Award experience.

  • All contact between leader and participant will take place through eDofE (the DofE online system for recording progress through the Award). This includes an inbuilt messaging system which provides a safe, secure communication channel between leader and participant. We are piloting a monthly email to participants in the Virtual Centre providing useful information about events and opportunities that may help them complete their award. The email i/d used is and will be used for no other purpose. Any emails in response from members of the Virtual Centre will be answered through this i/d.

  • Participants already enrolled in the Virtual Centre are welcome to come along to any of the drop-in sessions to discuss their Award with their leader face-to-face. We may take the opportunity to use the drop-in sessions to provide training on the use of eDofE and on other topics if there is a need.

  • The leader will provide advice and support for the Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections of the Award. For the Expedition section (and the Residential at Gold), participants will be advised as to where they can receive the appropriate training and opportunities to complete the section. All sections will still be signed-off through eDofE by the Virtual Centre leader.

  • All Awards will be ultimately signed-off by the Oxfordshire Open Award DofE Verifier.

Further details are described in the Virtual Centre Operations Guide, available from the Forms page.

Cost of Enrolment

The enrolment fee will include the standard DofE participation fee for the level to be undertaken, plus a £5 levy to cover some of Oxfordshire Open Award's costs in administering the Virtual Centre; the total enrolment fee will therefore be as follows:

  • Bronze: £24

  • Silver: £24

  • Gold: £31

Please note that the enrolment fee excludes any activity costs such as expeditions. Funds are available for those in need - please see the Funding Opportunities page.