Cambridgeshire ACF is very proud to have won the Quaich Trophy for the best performing County in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) during the period April 2020-March 2021.
Cambs ACF is committed to the DofE award, recognising its many benefits to young people including confidence building, team work, positive values and the achievement of new skills. During the lockdown, Cambs ACF’s DofE Team, led by Under Officer Ros Whyall, was determined to keep the award running, and Cadets and adults worked tirelessly to achieve DofE awards inspite of the difficult circumstances.
On 27th November, UO Whyall collected the trophy at a ceremony at Yardley Chase Cadet Training centre, Northamptonshire, presented by ACF ambassador Sally Orange.
UO Whyall collects the certificate for the award from Major (retired) Sally Orange.
DofE participation during the lockdown required innovation and initiative, and our cadets proved themselves up to this challenge. For the Volunteering section, cadets volunteered in vaccine centres, supported the 'crisp packet project' (ironing together crisp packets to provide emergency shelter for the homeless and less fortunate) and supported the 'Helipads for Hospitals’ project by collecting, washing and compressing drinks cans. Some cadets supported elderly neighbours by speaking to them regularly and running errands. Others supported younger siblings with home learning and used their own skills to teach cadet subjects such as navigation and first aid.
The Quaich Trophy.
For the physical section, cadets participated in running, cycling, walking and completing fitness programs such as Joe Wickes’s ‘PE with Joe’. They also participated in national ACF sports competitions,
In the skill section, cadets used the opportunity to develop new skills, undeterred by the shortages of certain foods, many cadets learned and developed cooking skills, whilst others participated in the iDEA (Inspiring Digital Enterprise) Award, helping them improve their digital, enterprise and employability skills. They also continued to engage in cadet activities both virtual and face to face.
Cadet CSM Cameron-Wickes made sleeping bags from crisp packets. Picture; Doug Stuart
Cambs ACF achieved 40 full awards and 58 certificates of Achievement, a remarkable result given the circumstances.
Alongside the work of the cadets were a team of adults who engaged with every cadet through email, telephone or on the online platform of Teams. These adults went out of the way to connect with participants and parents to encourage progress.
The wider Cambridgeshire ACF community also stepped up their support. During a time when it was difficult for participants to find assessors, many of our Adult Volunteers became assessors not just for cadet activities but for other subjects as diverse as sports, astronomy and sewing, encouraging their participants on a regular basis and writing the assessor report once the section was completed.
Cadet Newbatt collected thousands of cans for Helipads for Hospitals. Picture: Doug Stuart
The progress of DofE within the County has been increasing for a number of years and there are many people who have put the foundations in place to provide a pathway for the progress of DofE within the county and have enabled this fantastic result to be achieved.
On online ceremony for some of the many cadets who had acheived an award, October 2020.
2 Coy’s DofE Representative SSI Lloyd Lester (who was 1 Coy’s rep during the period the award was given for) said: ‘Without all the help and belief from Colonel Deacon (as 1 Coy OC), and now with Major Annis in 2 Coy inspiring me, I personally believe this could not have been possible. I’m extremely proud to be a part of this, and to have worked with a dedicated team in UO Ros Whyall, Lt Jon Blundell and all the assessors across the county. The Cadets also have worked so hard.’ The emphasis on the cadets achievement was strongly noted by Lt Jon Blundell, (2 Coy’s DofE rep until recently) who said: ‘"Whilst it is great to be recognised with this award, the most important point is that the cadets within the County had the opportunity to continue achieving through lockdown."
The Commandant, Colonel Lesley Deacon, said: "I am delighted that Cambridgeshire has been awarded the Quaich Trophy. This is great recognition of the hard work and dedication of the County DofE officer, UO Whyall, and the rest of her team who worked tirelessly over lockdown to keep the cadets engaged and achieving their awards. Finally, well done and congratulations to all the cadets who persevered and continued their DofE journey during a very difficult time."
Text by AUO Ros Whyall and PI Doug Stuart