Why Air Cadets?
Why air cadets? It’s a fair question, but ask anyone who has taken part as a cadet, adult volunteer or parent and you’ll know how special the organisation is. It offers young people from all walks of life a chance to get active, learn new skills and make new friends in an inspirational and safe environment.
It does not interfere with their school responsibilities and cadets take an invaluable set of experiences and strong personal ethics with them when they leave that they can put to good use at university or in the career of their choosing. It’s true that some cadets do take up a career within the Services, but there is no expectation for them to join up after leaving the organisation. Their personal development as confident and spirited young people is our main aim.
Under the guidance of our fully qualified volunteer staff we’ll offer your son or daughter many activities to take part in and every opportunity to build their strengths and improve their confidence. We hope that they stay with us for several years and thoroughly enjoy their membership – our volunteer staff are always on hand to assist parents with any questions or concerns.
We ask parents for as little as possible. We provide most of the kit and encourage cadets to be self-sufficient and keep their uniform in good order themselves. Please don’t be upset if they ask you not to iron their shirt as there is a certain way of doing it and they are encouraged to handle it themselves! However, you are responsible for their uniform, which is valued at around £200 and is issued on loan – it should only be used for Air Cadet activities and must be returned at the end of their time with us.
Footwear is not included, so shoes or boots will need to be provided. Beyond this, your responsibility is mainly for getting your son or daughter to the squadron promptly for meetings and supporting them as they progress. However, any further involvement is always gratefully received.
Keeping good communications with parents is very important to us and we are happy for you to be part of the process. Do you have some free time to help out? If so, you can talk to the squadron staff about helping out informally at squadron events where parents frequently contribute their time and effort. Of course, you can go a step further and become a volunteer!
All organisations need funding. We are luckier than most, as the RAF provide the money for uniforms, premises, flying and several other activities. Each cadet provides a small subscription of approximately £15 a month (varies between squadrons), which goes towards funding the many activities that they undertake. National and international camps and expeditions may lead to extra costs – but we will always keep these to a minimum. For example, a typical weekend camp would cost £10. We want the organisation to be available to everyone and staff are happy to discuss cost-related issues with parents at any time.
The squadron must provide the rest of the required funding, primarily through the fundraising efforts of the Civilian Committee that each has. We are always looking for parents who are keen to get involved with their squadron’s Committee or would like to become a volunteer!
Squadrons are also registered charities and are therefore able to claim Gift Aid – enabling them to reclaim the tax you have paid on the amount of subscriptions you have paid, which means about another £30 for the squadron for each year’s worth of subscriptions. Your child’s Squadron will have a policy on this and most will usually ask parents to sign a Gift Aid declaration upon enrolment.
Child Protection & Safeguarding
Every parent’s primary concern is for the safety and well-being of their son or daughter. Rest assured we take this equally seriously. Many of our activities (often outdoor) rely on our cadets being in a safe, secure and enjoyable environment in which they can sometimes be challenged physically. Our long history is a testament to our expertise and care in this area so that we can provide the thrills of adventurous training under the guidance of experienced, trustworthy staff. The staff at your local squadron are always available to speak to and will put your mind at rest regarding any concerns you may have.
For more information on your child’s safety you can read the Child Protection Guide. Please click the links below for more information:
Alternatively, Greater Manchester Wing and all layers of the RAFAC has its own Child Protection Officer.
The contact for the National Child Protection Officer is:
Telephone: 01400 267088
Our volunteers are the inspirational connection between the RAFAC and our cadets. We train and prepare our staff (many of whom have been air cadets themselves or have a Service background) to deal with the needs of young people and encourage their skills in all endeavours they undertake. Volunteer staff at all levels are strictly checked through the Disclosure and Barrment Service (DBS), and receive internal security checks, before they can take sole charge or responsible leadership of cadets.
Volunteers are also fully trained and qualified in any activities that they are involved in, not least those taking part in adventurous pursuits who are also qualified first-aiders (First Aid is a mandatory part of cadets’ training).
Rest assured – this is the way all squadrons operate – only with skilled, capable and responsible volunteers would we be able to maintain the high standards that our cadets experience and which helps push them to be higher achievers in everything they do with us – safely and confidently.
As well as the obvious military element, there is also an allied civilian structure that effectively acts as the backbone of the organisation. Each squadron has one, comprised of parents and friends, its role being to assist the squadron’s Commanding Officer, raise funds and ensure the squadron maintains direction.