Our History

ACCT UK is a national charity with a proud history of unswerving support to the Army Cadet Force (ACF) for over 90 years.

ACCT UK’s name has changed in that time but its primary association with the ACF is unbroken.

The genesis for the charity’s formation was the world’s great economic slump of the 1920s and 1930s, which caused the British government through the War Office (a precursor of the MOD) to withdraw the financial grant and all official help for army cadets. In 1930 farsighted and enthusiastic people formed the British National Cadet Association (BNCA) to keep the army cadet movement alive, striving to save as many army cadet units as possible under the leadership of its first president, Field Marshal Lord Allenby. Between 1930 and the resumption of full Government recognition in 1942, the BNCA was entirely responsible for keeping the ACF in being.

In 1942 the Army took over the organisation, equipment and accommodation of the ACF. The BNCA retained the position of official adviser to the War Office on all ACF matters, and remained responsible for the organisation and supervision of non-military training. The trustees of the BNCA however recognised that its executive role for the control and management of the ACF was now much more limited, and therefore reviewed the charity’s purpose and articles. They were refreshed and with it the charity changed its name to the Army Cadet Force Association (ACFA) in 1945; reflecting the fact that the charity supported only the ACF and no other cadet organisation.

From then until recently, the ACFA continued to play a significant part in the running of the ACF. It provided equipment through its Supply Department (later known as Cadet Kit Shop) and publications such as a monthly magazine, handbook etc. ACFA also ran national competitions for sporting activities and first aid.  

Aside from continuing to advise the Army on ACF matters and representation on training and similar committees, the ACFA remained responsible for supporting non-military activity in the ACF within the army cadet proficiency certificate syllabus (sport, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, first aid, music) through its advisory panels, the chairmen of which were Trustees of the Association (until 2006 when the trustees were reorganised). ACFA represented army cadets with the national civilian governing bodies that regulated these activities, ensuring compatibility with cadet activities and managing, for example, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award enrolment process and the registration of first aid courses and trainers. ACCT UK still maintains close links with these governing bodies. ACCT UK also supports awards and recognition for army cadets and CFAVs through awarding bodies such as the Order of St John, Royal Humane Society and the British Citizen Award. ACCT UK runs its annual Recognising Excellence Awards, currently sponsored by BAE Systems. 

From 2019 the Army took full control of activities within the army cadets. The trustees of the charity, recognising that the charity’s relationship with the ACF and the Army had evolved significantly, once again reviewed the charity’s purpose and articles. Their conclusion was that the charity’s underlying purpose and objects were sound, but that the name ‘Army Cadet Force Association’ did not convey that it is a charity nor make clear that ACF cadets are its primary beneficiaries. Understandably there was confusion between ACFA and ACF. Therefore the ACFA changed its name in September 2021 to become the Army Cadet Charitable Trust UK.

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