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Thoughts From Our First ACCT Insights Event

Adult volunteers from rural detachments across the UK joined to share their thoughts and experiences

26 May 2022

ACCT Insights Event

On 16 February ACCT UK held its first ACCT Insights meeting online using Zoom. Adult volunteers from across the Army Cadets joined to share their thoughts and experiences on the topic of “What challenges are faced by the ACF in rural communities”.

ACCT Insights is an initiative by ACCT UK to help the trustees better understand the needs of our beneficiaries so that we can focus our charitable activity where it will have the greatest positive impact.

Interest in the event was high and we were thrilled to have engagement from some of the Army Cadets’ most rural detachments across the UK. The event was led by ACCT UK Vice-Chair Jemma Ralph, with Head of Development Faye Meakin as the facilitator. 

There were many interesting discussions on the night, and we’ve been reviewing the results in detail with a view to planning for the future. 

The main topics of the evening were access to technology; recruitment; and access to equipment and activities.

Not all of the issues raised are things that our charity can directly help with and, where applicable, we have passed the information through to Army Cadet Headquarters. For those issues that we can help with, we’re putting our thinking caps on to come up with solutions. Keep reading for a summary of the topics raised and some brief insights into our action plans.

Concerns Raised

There were clear concerns about access to Adventure Training equipment now that this is part of the cadet syllabus as well as access to training aids for other subjects. We heard that access can be a challenge for those detachments that are more remote from their County HQs.


What We’re Doing to Help

Access to equipment is an area that ACCT UK can help with through our ACF County Grants! The response to this topic helped us to understand that we need to find better methods to promote our grants, so that the rural counties that are most in need can benefit. ACCT UK is currently looking into more effective ways to promote our county grant opportunities at a detachment level. If your detachment wants to apply contact grants@acctuk.org.

Concerns Raised 

Recruitment of cadets and adult volunteers can be a challenge in any location, but we heard loud and clear that this is an area that rural detachments struggle with. Two key concerns were: a lack of visibility at street level and recruitment materials that weren’t suited to rural areas.

What We’re Doing to Help

ACCT UK has passed this great feedback onto our colleagues in HQ Regional Command, who are responsible for both recruitment materials and local visibility.

Concerns Raised

There was much discussion around access to activities – with some of the detachments represented being hundreds of miles away from their County HQ! It is clear that for some detachments, access to minibuses and qualified drivers can be very challenging.

What We’re Doing to Help

ACCT UK is currently looking into access challenges in more depth, to get a better understanding of the issue and to see how ACCT UK can do more and better to help rural detachments improve their access situation.

Concerns Raised

The burning issue of the evening was certainly connectivity and access to a reliable internet connection both at home and in the detachments.  We discovered that a lack of reliable mobile signals in rural areas exacerbates the connectivity problem; which impacts on all areas from recruitment to parade nights.

What We’re Doing to Help

It was clear that connectivity is a complex issue but an important one as our lives become more and more digitalised. As internet connections are variable across the UK, some detachments have hard-lines, others have dongles – there is not likely to be a one size fits all solution to this. ACCT UK wants to help where we can and we are currently in discussion with Cadet Digital Services to come up with a plan.

A huge thank you again to those colleagues who joined ACCT Insights or sent us their feedback over email. It was great to listen to your feedback and better understand the challenges faced in running a rural ACF detachment.

It is with your help that we can ensure our charitable initiatives better meet the needs of the ACF community we serve! 😊 

🏃🏽‍♀️🏃‍♂️We’re busy planning for our next ACCT Insights event. Keep an eye on our socials for the announcement! Please don’t hesitate to send us your ideas for event topics you’d like to see covered in the future.

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