Army Cadets in Staffordshire are benefitting from accessing training online, thanks to a kind gift from supporters.
The Friends of Staffordshire Army Cadet Force Trust, a registered charity and long-term supporter of the cadets, have donated Sixty Toshiba Notebooks and cases to Staffordshire and West Midlands (North Sector) Army Cadet Force (ACF).
The Friends charity raises funds to help the cadets to access different activities and experiences that can support them in their development and training, as well as providing contributions to travel and transport costs.
With 2020 proving a difficult year, and the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the majority of physical activities to be put on hold, the charity decided it could deliver more tangible support to the cadets.
As many households and cadets have limited or no access to IT facilities, it is a growing challenge for some cadets to have the option to take part in virtual training with their peers.
The generous donation from the Friends has enabled the county HQ to identify 12 army cadets in each of the four cadet companies who will benefit from the additional IT capacity. This allows the cadets to continue to access their current training syllabus, enhance their learning and stay connected with the same opportunities available to their friends and detachments during lockdown.
Each Notebook is given on a ‘long loan’ basis to cadets, with the opportunity for them to keep them if they meet certain criteria. If the individual progresses successfully within the ACF, engages with both the BTEC and Duke of Edinburgh Schemes, engages with the full cadet APC syllabus, and is also likely to enter Sixth Form or College for further education.
The remaining 12 Notebooks will be utilised at the Cannock Cadet Training Centre, where the cadets will use them during indoor and outdoor activities.
With ongoing plans to purchase small quantities of Notebooks to supplement the original stock, it is forming a lasting legacy from the charity, which will continue to assist the cadets to achieve the best of their potential and ensure no cadet is disadvantaged.
The Chair of the Trustees, Mr Jonathan Dale, presented the first 12 Notebooks to the Commandant of Staffordshire ACF, Colonel Simon Donegan, at the start of December. This has since been increased by a further 48 devices.
Mr Jonathan Dale, Chair of the Trust said, “The Friends of Staffordshire & West Midlands (NS) Army Cadet Force was formed in 2009 as a Charitable Trust to actively support the local cadets. By the raising of extra funds to support the Cadets in their activities and their personal lives and at all times in helping, maintain the values and standards of the Army Cadet Force.
“These funds have been used successfully to provide to the cadets and their leaders opportunities that often would otherwise not be available. This has in the past included minibus transport, further education bursaries, welfare grants, climbing equipment, overseas group travel, the Corps of Drums on projects and exercises – the list is extensive.
“During these exceptional times, we are therefore, delighted to be able to support these objectives by obtaining and donating 60 Notebook computers to deserving cadets as part of our ongoing support for this most worthwhile of organisations.”
The County Commandant of Staffordshire ACF, Colonel Simon Donegan, commented: “In these recent difficult times and the challenges faced by all the cadets of all ages within Staffordshire and the West Midlands, as with all young people in general to have the opportunity and tools to be able engage, learn and develop is crucial.
“The generous support from the Friends in providing 60 Toshiba Notebooks will allow our less fortunate cadets the opportunity join in with the county’s virtual training and activities in the absence of face-to-face activities due to COVID-19”.
Find out more about the work of the Friends of Staffordshire Army Cadet Force Trust.