Fostering Community Spirit

13 March 2018

When joining The Army Cadet Force, you become part of the ACF community. See the value of fostering a community spirit, and take responsibility for aiding other people when possible. As well as helping others, the ACF’s work in supporting community activities and events helps cadets and adults to become more motivated and confident and to feel an important part of their local community.

What is community spirit?

A community usually consists of people drawn together through a common factor, like living in the same area. They’re united by a common goal, and they strive to help those in their own group as well as others. Those in a community may share certain concerns and come together to help overcome local issues.

Community spirit is the willingness to participate in activities that benefit the local community. Soon after a cadet joins the ACF, they will learn that community spirit is very important to the organisation. Many of our activities focus on helping others in the local area and inspiring our cadets to be the best people they can be.

How do our cadets foster community spirit?

In over 1,600 detachments around the UK, the ACF’s 39,000 cadets are learning how to become pillars of the community. All cadets progress through a challenging training programme called the Army Proficiency Certificate (APC) which includes citizenship training and participation in community projects. Many also take the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which involves completing a ‘volunteering’ component.

Cadets and adult volunteers take part in community activities throughout the year and during the ACF’s Community Week. Giving up their spare time to help people, activities include picking up litter, sponsored walks and bag-packing in supermarkets –to support local causes and charities (large and small).

Community Week is a great way for the ACF to celebrate what it does for local communities, however we don’t only spend one week playing our part in society. Here are some other examples of the fantastic community efforts that detachments all over Britain have made in the past:

  • The Priory City of Lincoln Academy – When snow struck, this detachment rushed to help an elderly care home clear the snow-covered grounds. Having already volunteered to maintain the up-keep of the area, the cadets went to great lengths to help the residents and staff of the home.
  • Christchurch – Adult volunteers and cadets from Christchurch spent their time re-landscaping a pond into a garden, as well as painting fences for a local primary school.
  • Burwell – Cadets from Burwell’s detachment went the extra mile for Shirley, an 82-year-old who makes a three-hour journey every day to go shopping for herself and her disabled son. The cadets took on the mission to collect items for a hamper, gathering so much that they were able to make two hampers (for Shirley and a local day centre for the elderly) as well as giving some flowers to Shirley for Christmas.
  • Norfolk – Norfolk’s cadets assisted at a local, annual event that raises money for military charity, Combat Stress. The charity helps ex and current members of the Armed Forces recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The cadets served four dinner courses to over 80 guests, who were incredibly complimentary and shocked at the efforts the cadets made to raise money and help the community.

If you want a sense of belonging in a detachment and your local community, volunteer at your local ACF. Take this incredible opportunity to help young people to develop the skills to go further in life whilst helping and supporting those around you. Reap the benefits, and volunteer now!