2017 UPDATE: We no longer offer placements for solo Duke of Edinburgh volunteers. We may run courses in 2018 for those wishing to complete their Gold Residential Section. These will be updated on our volunteer page.
For the residential section of my Gold Duke of Edinburgh award, I chose to volunteer with SYHA Hostelling Scotland and I was given a placement at their Inverness Youth Hostel. I had never stayed in a youth hostel before and so I didn’t really know what to expect however I was pleasantly surprised and will definitely stay in more youth hostels in the future.
On my first day arriving I was thrown in at the deep end and found myself in the kitchen helping to prepare and serve dinner for a group of 54 French school children! I had never done anything like it before and was very nervous but it helped me feel more confident for the rest of my stay.
During my time at the youth hostel I undertook a variety of jobs from helping a student with learning difficulties on her work experience to cleaning and helping with the the laundry as well as constructing a compost box and installing a bird house in the grounds.
All the staff were very friendly and welcoming and really helped to make my time there enjoyable. In the evenings when I went down to the self-catering kitchen I met lots of interesting people from all sorts of places, which was really nice too.
During my free time I went for walks and explored the city of Inverness which looked very pretty with all the snow and frost. It was very nice to spend some time to myself also and catch up on some schoolwork that needed done!
Overall I have to say that it has been a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience and would definitely recommend volunteering with SYHA to anyone interested or to those looking for ideas to complete their Gold Duke of Edinburgh award.
Biography for SYHA Hostelling Scotland
Scotland's best known network of youth hostels in stunning city & rural locations. Go on a #SYHAdventure! As a not-for-profit organisation, we encourage guests to join SYHA Hostelling Scotland. Members enjoy a range of exclusive benefits including dual membership of Hostelling International, providing access to more than 4,000 youth hostels in over 90 countries worldwide. Membership and guest overnight income supports our charitable youth programmes and the maintenance of the hostelling network, particularly in rural Scotland.