Our Commandant reflects on 2020

23 December 2020


Who would have thought a year ago that 2020 would have been the year of the Virtual ACF and a Virtual Annual Camp. After 9 months and 2 lockdowns, we go into the New Year with most of Essex now in Tier 3. These certainly continue to be difficult times and yet Essex ACF has managed to keep the flame alive with virtual parade nights, interest sessions and challenges delivered by our dedicated team of adults and senior cadets. The highlight of the year has to be the amazing Virtual Annual Camp 2020, which saw 425 cadets, parents and CFAVs register to take part in over 50 sessions over 9 days and its huge success saw Essex ACF featured in the ACF Yearbook 2020. You all certainly rose to the challenge of making Essex ACF one of the best counties in the country at delivering Virtual Training so thank you again for your continued hard work, dedication and selfless commitment.

I am hugely proud of everything that each and every one of you has achieved during 2020. Not just the outstanding Virtual Training and Annual Camp, but in this year above all years, the difference all of you adults and senior cadets have made, every day, to our cadets. You all absolutely deliver on our ACF Mission Statement “To Inspire to Achieve” – THANK YOU!

Looking forward to 2021 we are starting the year with preparing for our Return To Training towards the end of January. We are now working to the National Youth Agency (NYA) Guidance, which allows us to train face-2-face in bubbles of 15 cadets plus adults, in COVID-Secure locations, within strict guidelines. A great deal of work has gone into ensuring that it is possible to train and where we can, we will. This of course remains subject to Government and MoD guidelines and restrictions and a lockdown will mean we have to pause again.

We hope to have confirmation of our Annual Camp 2021 location in the New Year, which will now have to be within the Brigade Area, so STANTA or Beckingham Camp. With no overnight accommodation before 1 April 2021, expected accommodation and transport restrictions, Easter and Annual Camps could still be very different, but I know that we will continue to work together on making the Essex ACF Cadet Experience in 2021 the best that it possibly can be.

Thank you again for all of your outstanding work and I wish you and your families a restful festive season, a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.

L I Barr-Jones