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What does good look like?

County Conference - by Capt Neil Bizzell

What does good look like?

20 February 2023

  • Humberside And South Yorkshire ACF

Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAV) from across the county gathered together over the weekend at Driffield to take part in the county conference. The theme this year was "What does good looks like?".

The event was opened by Colonel Fred Owen, Commandant, outlining his vision for the county. As the first opportunity to address the whole county since taking post last year he outlined his vision for the county. A key theme was compassionate and inclusive leadership at all levels. He briefly shared his vision with those who attended. He shared a video of some of the highlights of the last year and shared his priorities for the coming year.

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After sharing this he took the opportunity to make two promotions. Recently appointed Company Commander of C Company, Captain Erica McCabe was promoted to Major. A Company Staff Officer Lieutenant Holly Troughton was promoted to Captain.

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The next step was a carousel of discussion groups to get the opinions of staff at all levels of the organisation on a number of themes around what good looks like for those areas. Facilitators for each group prompted open discussion around the themes. The groups quickly got stuck in and were happy to share their views. This was a great way to gather lots of information and ideas in a relatively short space of time. Alongside the discussion groups visitors from Humberside Police shared information about Project Nova. There was also a session from the QM on the vital work the Permanent Support Staff (PSS) do to support our activities and to share some reminders about how to best access this support.

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After lunch it was the turn of the Honorary Colonel, Colonel Simon Banks-Cooper. He shared information about the role of the Honorary Colonel and some thought provoking insight around courage and the relevance to our organisation. This was followed by an excellent session on building a culture of inclusion and psychological safety by Major Tim Troughton, Officer Commanding (OC) B Company.

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After this the feedback from the morning sessions was summarised by the group facilitators. Lots of useful ideas and information from CFAV was presented. The Commandant thanked everyone for their input and outlined some of the ways that ideas would be taken forward.

After time for questions those present dispersed to go and prepare for the final event of the day; a Combined Mess Dinner. Everyone gathered in the mess where further presentations were made by the Commandant.

Staff Sergeant Instructor Sam Mews and Captain Neil Bizzell were presented with Platinum Jubilee medals. Lieutenant Noel Lockyer was presented with the Cadet Forces Medal marking 12 years service.

Sergeant Instructor David Harrison was promoted to Staff Sergeant Instructor. Joe Brantarno and Sergeant Major Instructor Zara Thorpe were presented Commandant's Coins recognising their prolonged and valuable contribution to the county

In addition SMI Craig Asher was presented with the Cadet Forces Warrant by Colonel Cadets, Colonel Steven Emerson.

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Colonel Owen said of the event "We are, without doubt in the age of disruption, our lives are touched by the cost of living not just at home, but with our own delivery budget. In 2022 we mourned the loss of our Queen, leaving the second Elizabethan era, we experience uncertainty in leadership with a change of premiership three times and we are still feeling the impact of the war in Ukraine. However, I am optimistic and convinced and passionate about the ACF and HSY. The volunteers that lead our Cadets are the NORTH STAR of HOPE for the future of our Country and our Cadets.

"Our national culture is growing and deepening, and we need to mirror our community and embrace change. Starting with respecting each other, with kindness and compassion, my mission is to roll out a vision that will enable us to be the best version of ourselves. The aim of the conference was ’what good looks like?’ The focus for me was one of a culture, embracing our multi-generational volunteer workforce and exploring equality versus equity and psychological safety. I challenged all leaders to be compassionate and courageous in their leadership.

"I know as we move forward success will look different for us all, a cultural step change will be a challenge for some, but I am extremely proud of the work done over the conference to take us beyond 2023.

"As your Commandant my role is to serve and lead you, to enable you to be the best version of yourself".