18 April 2016
The Army Cadet Force has added its weight to the #iwill campaign by pledging the support of 41,000 cadets around the UK in promoting youth social action.
The announcement comes as the ACF starts its first nationwide 'Community Week' to help celebrate the great work ACF cadets and adults have been doing for the community and raise awareness of local activities.
Cadets from 43 Detachment in East Ham, London, were the first to make their #iwill pledges.
#iwill is a UK-wide campaign aiming to make involvement in social action (e.g. fundraising, volunteering and campaigning) a normal part of life for 10-20 year-olds by the year 2020.
“We’ve pledged to: Embed social action as a habit for life in our cadets and volunteers through promoting the ACF value of selfless commitment”, says Brigadier (Retd) David Short, General Secretary of the Army Cadet Force Association.
“Between now and 2020 we’ll be encouraging our cadets to make the most of all the community and fundraising opportunities we can give them through our Cadet and the Community programme; the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and BTEC qualifications and through special initiatives such as the annual ACF Community Week (taking place this week from 18-24 April).
“Community support, fundraising and volunteering are part of what cadets do. Selfless commitment is one of the ACF (and Army) values and something that ties in perfectly with the aims of the #iwill campaign.
Over the last year groups of Army Cadets (and individuals) have served their communities in hundreds of different ways. Cadets have helped the elderly clear their gardens; organised sponsored car washes; arranged ‘bag it up’ campaigns to collect clothes for charity shops; carried out litter picking; helped out at community events and taken part in numerous activities to raise money for charities. Army Cadets also took part in hundreds of ceremonial activities to help support the Armed Forces and act as their representatives in the local community.
2015 Cabinet Office research produced compelling evidence that young people who take part in social action develop key character and employability skills. It follows on from this that involvement creates a double-benefit, strengthening communities and enhancing the skills of young participants.
General (Retd) Sir Nick Parker, chairman of the charity running the #iwill campaign (and former Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces) says: “We are delighted that the Army Cadet Force has pledged to include their community programmes as part of our campaign to make social action the norm for 10-20 year-olds. We rely on credible partners to commit to tangible actions like this if we are to achieve our ambitious goals by 2020. The involvement of the Army Cadets is an important step forward.”