Our Brilliant Non-Uniformed Volunteers

Part One

Our Brilliant Non-Uniformed Volunteers

9 March 2022

  • Cambridgeshire ACF

Not all of our volunteers are uniformed instructors. Across the County, vital work is being performed by our Non-Uniformed Volunteers (NUVs) who perform duties such as fundraising, accounting, store-keeping and supervising. In many cases, their contributions make it possible for their Detachments to run. Cambridgeshire ACF is appealing for more NUVs to join them in performing this work which is proving so essential to delivering our training to cadets.

NUVs complete a short training course which includes an introduction to the organisation and safeguarding, and must complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to ensure they are suitable to work with young people. They will usually need to attend a Detachment evening once a week, and no previous experience is necessary.

Lindsay Trotter is an NUV at Ramsay Detachment, which she joined three years ago, after her daughter (now a Cdt Staff Sgt) Jessica Trotter had joined us. She said: ‘Jessica had learned lots of useful things and grown in confidence. Lesley (Colonel Deacon) had put a message out appealing for help. I wanted to have the chance to see Cadets from the other side, rather than just hearing about it from my daughter.’

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Lindsay Trotter at Ramsay. Pic: Doug Stuart

Lindsay now performs multiple essential roles at the Detachment, including looking after NAFFI (snacks) stores, printing forms and accounting. As well as providing another adult presence which is sometimes necessary for the Detachment to be allowed to function (as each Detachment must have at least two adults present), this work also ‘frees up’ her colleague(s) to train the cadets.

Regarding being an NUV, she says: ‘I love it. It gives me time with my daughter and also time by myself away from the family. The other staff are lovely, very enthusiastic and really want the kids to do well.’

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Jamie in his store room at March. Pic: Doug Stuart

Jamie Barrett brings a great deal of valuable experience to the role as an NUV at March Detachment. Having been a cadet himself, he went on to serve with the Royal Engineers and then became a uniformed instructor with Cambs ACF during which time he completed the KGVI Leadership Course. After leaving for a period due to work commitments, he returned to us but had by this point become disabled and could not re-qualify as an instructor. As he was determined to continue to support Cambs ACF, (and both his daughters have been cadets) he re-joined March Detachment as an NUV and now runs their stores.

He said: ‘Cadets gave me so much, and I enjoy giving back and I really like helping out. I love the teamwork, camaraderie and friendship of a military environment, which I really wanted my daughters to experience. I also love the interaction with the cadets, we treat them like they matter, and we have a laugh and a joke.’ Like Lindsay, he also highlights the importance of his role enabling the instructors to get on with the teaching.

Tina Johnson is also at March Detachment. Being a professional admin manager, she also brings useful skills to the Detachment and takes care of their paperwork. Like the others, her daughter joined us first and Tina was able to see the benefits of the organisation first hand. ‘The Instructors were so good with her, really supportive, and I wanted to help, I was made to feel really welcome, everyone has been lovely.’ In the future, Tina will be performing further vital work as a minibus driver.


Vanessa Rice. Pic; Doug Stuart

Vanessa Rice joined us as an NUV in 2019. She had previously been a very successful volunteer fundraiser for Cancer Research UK, and after her son Charlie (now Cdt RSM Rice) joined the ACF and she saw the great work we were doing, she began to think about how she could help us. She said: ‘Charlie’s confidence grew and he made great friendships. He was getting experiences through the ACF that no other organisation could offer, and learning great skills as well as the ACF’s Values and Standards.’

Our Commandant, Colonel Deacon, (then OC of 1 Coy) quickly saw Vanessa’s potential due to her skills and contacts, and asked her if she could fundraise for 1 Coy, which she did with great success. Vanessa now raises money for the whole of Cambs ACF through Charlie’s sponsored activities, by organising bag packing, sending emails and liaising with local businesses.

She said: ‘I was concerned about what happens if a cadet can’t afford something, as I think every cadet should get the full ‘cadet experience’ whatever their background. It is great to see how the money I have raised is used. The ACF is so supportive, it’s like a big family. I have made really good friends and I really enjoy the banter!’

To be continued.

If you are interested in becoming an NUV, please contact our Adult Admin Officer Captain Liz Hyslop Email: ea-camao1@rfca.org.uk Tel: 01223 622831

Part two of this article: https://armycadets.com/county-...

Text by SI Doug Stuart