The Volunteering section of the Award is designed to allow participants to give something back to the community in which they live; it's all about being aware of the people around us and making a difference to other people's lives.

Pupils volunteer for a minimum of three months at Bronze level, six months at Silver and 12 months at Gold so participants are encouraged to find an activity they find stimulating and exciting. From conservation to youth work to caring for animals there's a huge range of activities you can get involved in. The Academy is also supportive of pupils who wish to set up their own community project and our staff would be keen to hear from any participants who want guidance in this area; recent ideas have ranged from coffee mornings for the elderly to football coaching sessions for children with special needs.

This year pupils have helped lead activities in nursery classes, cared for animals at rescue shelters, worked in charity shops, coached younger pupils in a variety of sports and assisted at meetings of Brownies and Scouts.