Parents and carers

Do you have a child interested in joining the Army Cadet Force?

Do you know a young person who would benefit from action and adventure, fun and friendship in a structured, disciplined environment?

We realise that parents and carers might have particular questions about the aims and objectives of the Army Cadet Force, and the kind of activities we teach, so we have created this section just for you.

The Army Cadets gives young people - from all walks of life - access to fun, friendship, action and adventure. We challenge young people to learn more, do more and try more. We inspire them to aim high and give them the skills, values and attitudes to go further in life, no matter what they aim to do. Find out more about the benefits for your child of becoming a cadet.

To join us your child will need to be aged over 12* and under 18 (*aged 12 by 1 September at the start of year 8 in school or equivalent in Scotland and Northern Ireland).

We offer a broad range of challenging adventurous and educational activities, some of them on a military theme, but all of them designed to help your child develop and thrive. Find out more about what your child could do with the Army Cadet Force.

The ACF is a national, voluntary youth organisation - sponsored by the Army but not part of it. There is absolutely no requirement on cadets to join any of the Armed Forces.

We provide a uniform, free of charge, for the whole time your child is in the cadets, though you may be asked for a small deposit. All you need to buy is a good pair of boots. Detachments usually meet on one or two evenings a week and there are also some weekend activities, such as sports competitions, short hiking expeditions or camps in the local area. Once a year during the school summer holiday, everyone in the Army Cadet Force has the opportunity to go away on ‘annual camp’ - an action-packed trip of one or two weeks at a military training area somewhere in the UK with the rest of the ACF from your local area. For most cadets, this is the undoubted highlight of the year.

Costs are kept as low as possible. Joining the ACF is free but some detachments ask for a small weekly subscription. Annual camp usually costs under £100 with all food, accommodation, transport and activities included – exceptional value for money and far cheaper than similar activities offered by commercial organisations.

The safety and security of your child is of paramount importance to us. Every adult volunteer is required to undergo detailed, formal safeguarding checks.

Safeguarding checks include one of the following: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), Access NI (Northern Ireland) or Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scotland (PVG) and no adult volunteers are left unsupervised with cadets until the checks are complete. We also have a full-time Training Safety Advisor in every ACF county to ensure all our training is conducted as safely as possible, while still being exciting and challenging.

Use our simple online form to register your child’s interest. We will email you details of the regional headquarters for your area. Contact them and they will normally arrange for you to take your child along to your nearest detachment to meet the team and find out more.