A Make Do and Mend Attitude Can Get You Far

2 November 2018

In certain situations, there will be times where you must make do with limited supplies and ideas to create a solution. This can be difficult, but positivity and creativity can really help conquer a tricky task, whatever the scenario. Applying the make do and mend attitude to the present day can open a door to opportunities, answers, and results. Find out more about the make do and mend meaning, and how our cadets take on this attitude to find solutions to tasks.

What is Make Do and Mend?

The saying ‘make-do and mend it’ originates back to the Second World War. Due to the sheer amount of material and fabric that had to be made into military uniform, a clothing shortage hit the UK. Factories were under enormous pressure to provide, and the making of regular clothing took a back foot. Every adult was given 66 tokens per year – these were used quickly, with 11 tokens needed for a dress, and eight for men’s trousers. As the war continued and worsened, these tokens were reduced further.

Consequently, citizens were forced to be creative to stay looking good in last season’s clothing. To encourage people to be more creative, the government released ‘make do and mend posters’. Rationing meant that people had to be inventive and learn how to adapt old clothing. Make do and mend classes started popping up around the UK, where people were taught how to sew – it even became an activity at Scouts.

Make Do and Mend in the Present Day

Attitudes now are a far cry from the make do and mend outlook that citizens during the war were forced to adopt. Rather than customising clothes, we are encouraged to throw it away and buy something newer from the high street.

However, in the Army Cadet Force, we encourage our cadets to take on the WW2 attitude and invite our cadets to overcome obstacles with limited resources. Activities such as orienteering challenge cadets to use just a map and compass and their ingenuity to navigate to key points in the shortest time possible. Likewise when embarking on an exercise, cadets sleep outside with only a few possessions allowed. As they must carry everything, including sleeping equipment, cadets must discipline themselves to only bring essentials to get through the exercise.

Our adult volunteers also develop a make do and mend attitude. They regularly create ‘command task’ challenges for cadets to help build their communication, leadership and teamworking skills. Our AVs need to use the few props they have to hand, such as planks of wood, buckets, and lengths of rope, to devise new activities that are fun as well as educational.

Joining the Army Cadet Force as a cadet or an adult volunteer will encourage you to embrace a mindset you may not have had to adopt before. As well as ‘making do’ with few resources, our members meet new people, try new activities, gain qualifications, develop new skills, and make memories for life whether that’s at the detachment, or on annual camp. Learn more about the benefits of volunteering at the ACF.

If you’re interested in joining the ACF, find your nearest detachment to find out more. If you want to help our cadets on their development and get involved in leading, why not think about volunteering with us? With over 1,600 locations in the UK, find your nearest Army Cadet Force detachment and get involved.