After a difficult period of lockdowns and the cessation of face-to-face activities, many Cambs ACF detachments are looking for ways to increase their numbers, of both Cadets and Adults Volunteers. On Saturday 11th September, Whittlesey Detachment set up a recruitment stand at Coates Fete.
The fete is held on Coates village green and allows local community groups to showcase and advertise what they do, alongside putting on a great day for families to visit.
Whittlesey Detachment cadets and adults at their recruiting stand. Picture; SSI Eliza Clifford.
This was an important opportunity for Whittlesey Detachment to engage with their local community, - an important objective of the ACF generally, and all the more so as this was the detachment's first public event since 2019. The detachment set up a stand where they were able to showcase the best of the ACF in the hope of attracting new recruits, and they were joined by Cdt CSgt O’Connor from Fletton Detachment.
Alongside this stand, demonstration areas were set up to allow members of the public to engage with the cadets and get a taste of our activities and training, including a mock basha and a small area linked to "why things are seen". This was made fun and engaging by tasking children and adult visitors with trying to spot the camouflaged items hidden in a taped off area.
The interior of the recruitment stand. Picture: Liz O'Connor
There was a great turnout from the detachment cadets, with 11 cadets in attendance alongside four adult volunteers. As well as running their own stand, cadets were able to engage with the event by exploring the other stands and assisting at the end of the day in packing up other stalls.
Cdt RSM Charlie Rice said: ‘It was exciting to see our cadets engaging with the public- they were really professional. We got to speak to a really good mix of people and tell them about what we do- including about this year’s Annual camp. We had all really missed interacting with the local community.’
Basha and equipment on display. Picture: Liz O'Connor
Whittlesey Detachment Commander Lt Nicholson said: "The cadets were an asset to the Detachment and the ACF. It was great to see their engagement with the general public, and how naturally and enthusiastically they sold the cadet experience to potential new recruits. We have had several enquiries following the event, including visits and enrolment of new cadets."
The Cadets and adults clearly enjoyed the day, and were a credit to their Detachment and County. The ACF strives for close links with local communities, building on one of our key values; ‘Selfless Commitment to Others’, and recognising that the experience and skill learned through volunteering greatly benefits our members, as well as others. Whittlesey Detachment has achieved a great deal with building local connections and are already lined up to support future events within the town and surrounding villages.
Text by PI Doug Stuart and Lt Richard Nicholson