Welcome to the City of London and North East Sector Army Cadet Force – aka COLNES for short!
London is split into 4 sectors compared to the county divisions elsewhere. COLNES is one division and as our name suggests, stretches from the Square Mile out to the north east as far as Woodford Green. We have detachments in the London boroughs of City, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Newham, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham and Havering.
COLNES has the privilege of being home to one of the oldest cadet detachments, based in Bethnal Green which was set up by the founder of the ACF, Octavia Hill. Over 150 years on, the ACF is still very much flourishing in the East End and beyond; offering exciting experiences and opportunities to young people.
In addition to the usual cadet activities, our close ties to the City sees our cadets involved in many ceremonial events compared to many of the provincial counties. We work closely with many of the London Livery Companies – many of which are centuries old. We have a close relationship in particular with the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and as a result our cadets frequently provide honour guards for their events. We also play a role in the annual Lord Mayor’s Show, the annual Remembrance Service at St Paul’s Cathedral and the Lloyd's of London Remembrance Day Ceremony, as well as participating in Remembrance parades and services across the sector.
Our cadets also enjoy some fantastic opportunities here in COLNES. Over the past few years we have seen our cadets take part in an international cadet exchange with cadets from Hong Kong as well as spend time with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in Cyprus. Closer to home, cadets have also attended the Major General’s Review, Trooping the Colour, Beating Retreat, the British Military Tournament and the House of Parliament. Cadets also play a role in the annual Poppy Appeal, helping sell poppies and helping out behind the scenes at Poppy Appeal HQ.
Our fulltime executive team is based at our Sector HQ in Whipps Cross, Walthamstow which is also used for training of cadets and adult Instructors (CFAV). Although the ACF is mainly made up of volunteers, we have a small team of full-time permanent staff who do a great job in ensuring everything runs smoothly.