About us

About the Army Cadet Force

For action and adventure, fun and friendship, the Army Cadet Force is hard to beat. With 41,000 cadets (aged 12-18) in over 1,600 locations in every corner of the United Kingdom, the ACF is one of the country’s largest voluntary youth organisations. It is also one of the oldest tracing its history back to 1859.

We welcome boys and girls from the age of 12 (and in at least year eight at school), of all abilities and backgrounds, and through a broad range of exciting, challenging, educational and adventurous activities, help them develop physically, mentally and socially. Some of our activities have a military theme, others have more of a community focus. Combining military and community activities in this way enables us to offer our 41,000 young people a unique blend of personal development opportunities, all designed to promote fun and friendship while also helping them prepare for success in their chosen path in life, whatever that might turn out to be.

The Army Cadet Force is one of four cadet forces sponsored and supported by the Ministry of Defence, the others being the Combined Cadet Force, the Sea Cadet Corps, and the Air Training Corps. Although the cadet forces are sponsored by the Ministry of Defence they are not a branch of the British Armed Forces, and there is absolutely no obligation on cadets to join any of the Armed Forces.

During 2012, the Government announced a new Schools Cadet Expansion Programme to enable up to 100 more state-funded schools in England to develop cadet units by 2015. The Government’s goal is to significantly increase the number of young people who are able to access the cadet experience – a development that is likely to deliver significant benefits to schools and young people.