Minutes of the All Party Group for Reserve Forces and Cadets Meeting on 8th March 2011
Cdre Bob Mansergh RN, Head of Reserve Forces & Cadets (MoD);
Capt Colin Welborn RN, Chief of Staff Youth Royal Navy;
Col Murdo Urquhart, Assistant Director Youth & Cadets HQ Personnel & Support Command;
Air Cdre Barbara Cooper, Commandant Air Cadet Organisation.
Julian Brazier MP - Chairman
Madeleine Moon MP - Vice Chairman
Tony Baldry MP
Therese Coffey MP
Jim Fitzpatrick MP
Oliver Colville MP
Sarah Newton MP
Roger Gale MP
Graham Evans MP
Col (Retd) Hugh Purcell - Honorary Clerk
Maj Gen Greg Smith - ACDS Reserves & Cadets
Martin Coles - CEO MSSC
Brig James Plastow - MoD Youth Engagement Review (YER)
Capt Mark Windsor RN
Lieutenant Thompson RN
John McCullagh - MoD Reserves & Cadets
Chairman’s Opening Remarks. The Chairman welcomed all to the meeting, before introducing the speakers: Cdre Mansergh, Head of Reserve Forces & Cadets MoD, Capt Welborn, Chief of Staff Youth Royal Navy, Col Urquhart, Assistant Director Youth & Cadets HQ Personnel & Support Command and Air Cdre Cooper, Commandant Air Cadet Organisation.
Cdre Mansergh began by explaining that he would introduce the MoD’s sponsored Cadet Forces, one of the most successful youth movements in the UK, which he was sure many in the audience had already engaged with. He wanted to ensure that all in the room started from the same baseline before questions; he would focus on the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and his colleagues would cover their own services. They would all use Power Point slides. He stated that the MoD sponsored four Cadet Forces: the CCF; Sea Cadet Corps (SCC); Army Cadet Force (ACF); and Air Training Corps (ATC), and that there were two main types: the schools-based CCF and the Community-based SCC, ACF and ATC. Slide 3 showed the total number of Cadets and supporting Adults, proving what a large undertaking the movement is. It is about five times the size of the Volunteer Reserve and approaching the size of the Regular Armed Forces. He noted that some 30% of cadets were female and all 24,000 adults were volunteers, some with previous military service experience, but many with none. Adults were the centre of gravity of the movement and without them it would cease to exist. This would also make change management difficult because if they did not like something they could vote with their feet. He then showed Slide 4 where the cadet forces made up about 12% of young people in uniformed organisations across the UK. The figures did not take into account the cadet age group 12 - 18 (each Cadet Force having slightly different rules) and that other organisations started younger; he placed the cadets on a par with the Scouts and Guides.
He went on to explain the two main reasons Defence spent money on youth organisations. Firstly, to extend a footprint across the Nation that generates knowledge and interest in Defence. As the size of the Armed Forces reduces along with their locations, cadets were often the only military uniforms on display in some areas of the country. In addition, the number of families with direct military experience had reduced dramatically and cadets help fill in some of the gaps. Secondly, recruiting; the MoD could not recruit directly, but some 25% of recruits to the Armed Forces in the last year had been ex-cadets. There was also evidence that they completed initial training quicker and remained in service longer. In 2010, the RFCAs had helped the MoD commission a study by Southampton and Portsmouth universities into the benefits to Society of cadet force membership. The results effectively told the MoD what it knew already, but it was important to have an external and objective report to draw on when negotiating with Other Government Departments (OGDs) that could potentially help fund more units. The study also confirmed that cadets were enthusiastic and committed citizens who had high self-esteem and aspirations. He noted that the Cadet Vocational Qualification Organisation (CVQO) had initiated a study in parallel into the value of the educational programmes the cadets could access; Slide 6 showed a summary of the results. The focus on vocational qualifications sat well with Government programmes to develop practical skills and was a key element of the cadet forces’ ability to assist social mobility. He thought the benefits of the cadet experience were extensive and potentially could translate into reduced costs for taxpayers in a range of areas, including education, health and justice. Government was also aiming to build more social cohesion by mixing people from different backgrounds, which the cadets did regularly and effectively; there were units in Eton and Harrow as well as in many deprived inner city areas that exercised and attended annual camps together, working as a team. Uniform helped in this area as everyone wears more or less the same. The CVQO had aligned the cadet syllabi with national qualifications and some 34,000 had been awarded over the last six years. This worked for both ends of the spectrum, university entry for some, with cadet vocational qualifications being the only qualifications for others.
He reminded the Group that both the last and current government had perceived efficiencies in CCF units where the cadet/teacher ratio was approximately 19:1, school staff already knew their pupils and the environment was well established for organised activities. However, CCFs tended to parade less often and as a result were often less well trained. London Challenge was a partnership between independent school CCFs and local maintained schools that had been set up in London. So far 12 CCFs had teamed up to provide a shared cadet experience for both groups of pupils and although some unforeseen difficulties had occurred, the MoD hoped to iron them out before the project was rolled out nationwide. Despite a focus on developing CCFs in maintained schools, it was difficult to attract adult volunteers and it was state school contingents that tended to have difficulty and faced closure.
Meanwhile, the most significant challenge was to retain the dedicated teams of adult volunteers that had to operate under an ever-increasing mountain of bureaucracy. He hoped that the MoD’s Youth Engagement Review (YER) would focus on reducing this. He introduced Brigadier James Plastow, who was conducting the YER, which was due to report in the summer. James was also booked to report to the Group in the spring when he had a better understanding of what the key conclusions might be. It was important that the Review did not just focus on cadet forces and that it took a holistic view of the MoD’s engagement with young people.
Capt Welborn, Chief of Staff Youth Royal Navy, explained that he would focus on the Royal Naval (RN) Cadets. The SSC were the largest maritime youth charity in the UK, were managed by the Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC) and their Chief Executive, Martin Coles was present. He stated that each unit, of which there were nearly 400, was a charity in its own right and operated under licence from the MSSC. This licence dictated the standards required to ensure they operated inside the law. An MOU governed the relationship between MoD and Navy Command, laying down what was expected of each. Financial support came from Grant in Aid, but this only provided 55% of funding. Each cadet unit and the MSSC had to find the other 45p in the £1 needed to deliver the cadet experience. He emphasised the social qualities of the SSC, stating that 40% were female; 65% lived in areas of multiple social deprivation; 45% belonged to single parent families and 25% had recognized learning difficulties. He was of the view that success was proven, which now needs to be reinforced and built upon. It was notable that the RN also sponsored 101 Sea Scout units, aligned to the Scout Association, that gave some 5,000 young people and 1,500 adult volunteers access to, and use of, modern facilities. They also organized events such as swimming galas, summer camps and six-a-side competitions. There was a volunteer cadet corps, based in major RN training establishments, which provided access to rural communities and the purpose of Naval cadet forces was to develop young people through water-based activities, enabling them to become future leaders. It was also about growing adults and giving both an understanding of the maritime dimension, not just the RN, so that they could choose either a RN or maritime career. This was achieved in a variety of ways: e.g., HMS Ocean delivered the cadet experience through sailing exercises, some of them offshore, diving and this year gliding had been introduced.
He highlighted four main challenges: critical was retaining adults, paid or unpaid, and also recruiting and giving bright young people the right qualifications and experience to lead cadets. Second was saving the current level of activity, a particular challenge in the current financial climate. Third was to maintain the estate, much of which was in poor order. Fourth was to seek out opportunities for greater co-ordination and co-operation with other organisations. For example, the MSSC had built a national water-based activity centre using public and private money that contained sea cadets, army recruiters and air cadets and set a benchmark for the future.
Col Urquhart, Assistant Director Youth & Cadets HQ Personnel & Support Command began by showing a picture of a cadet radiating enthusiasm, which summed up the Army Cadet experience and explained why they joined. It was not just about boys as 25% were girls. However, it was potentially a risky business and he regretted that two female cadets had been killed during fieldcraft training, one in 1998 the other in 2007. Adult volunteers who run this type of activity carry a significant responsibility for the lives of other people’s children and needed the best possible training. The Army, although imposing a lot of risk assessment, was trying to strike a balance in the knowledge that Government wished to reduce the number of restrictions that applied to many such activities. He noted that the ACF linked closely to the Army chain of command in order to improve scrutiny. ACF activities needed weapons, ammunition and the use military training areas, which explained why some MoD youth activities were more expensive than those conducted by other youth movements. However, the ACF provided a fantastic vehicle that turned out impressive young people and although it would be cheaper to cut out such activities, a 2009 survey had shown that 80% supported shooting as the number one activity, followed by 67% for adventure training and 66% for fieldcraft. All other activities were way down the list. The critical enabler was access to the Defence Training Estate, its ranges and other training assets, but cadets were understandably the lowest priority. He hoped that despite funding pressures, the Army would maintain its funding for cadets, but it was often the secondary effect of savings made elsewhere that made delivering the experience more difficult.
Air Cdre Cooper, Commandant Air Cadet Organisation, explained that she was one of only five regular RAF personnel managing the ATC and that the organization included elements of the CCF. The ATC promotes and encourages a practical interest in aviation as well as the RAF, fostering a spirit of adventure, developing qualities of leadership and good citizenship and providing training that is useful in both the Services and civilian life. She noted that some cadets reach such a stage in gliding that they were permitted to take other cadets up, which was terrific for their confidence. The ATC also offered every cadet a BTEC in Aviation Studies, the equivalent of 2 GCSEs, which would sometimes be the only qualification such youngsters got.
In outline the ATC had approximately 35,000 Cadets, aged between 13 and 19, and there were 960 squadrons spread across the UK. It relied heavily on about 9,000 adult volunteers and civilian instructors and there were some 5,000 civilian committee members attached to squadrons who were involved in fundraising. The budget was about £23m. There was a non-public fund of some £6.5m, raised mostly from cadet annual subscriptions, which covered things the public purse could not pay for. They achieved approximately 100,000 cadet flights in gliders and powered aircraft each year. The SDSR had not affected the ATC directly, but it expected to suffer collateral damage from the RAF’s reducing capacity to provide support, including a shrinking footprint and fewer operating bases. She recognized that a reduction in RAF funding was inevitable. Another issue was the reduction in Civil Servants, because 96% of her salaried staff, 230 individuals, were civil servants and any loss would have a disproportionately harsh affect on her ability to provide governance and ensure safety.
Julian Brazier thanked the speakers for four excellent presentations, observing that one thing noticeable about sea cadets and to a lesser extent the others, was the extent that they were able to bring non-public money into the picture. He himself was heavily involved in a sea cadet unit in his constituency and was aware of the challenges but also the opportunities. Funding presented a huge challenge to the way forward and more and better co-ordination with other youth organisations would have implications for structures. He asked each presenter to comment before asking Hugh Purcell, the Clerk, to say a few words about Youth Organisations Uniform (YOU) London, which he chairs.
Cdre Mansergh thought that for CCFs a lot would hinge in the next few months on how the Secretary of State for Education’s intent to have more cadet schemes was turned into reality. Translating it into something that would endure had been tried before but it had been difficult to get the adults to engage. The Department of Education could have a policy and encourage, but there was a danger that what started quickly could end rapidly; this had already been evidenced in some maintained school CCFs. In part the SDSR protected the cadets, because the Department did not want any change in qualify or volume without considering the wider impact on its Youth Engagement efforts. MoD had initiated the YER because it had recognised that the taxpayer required best value. The challenge was to encourage OGDs to recognise the benefits cadets offer directly to them as well as society and that if each was to put in, say, 10% and MoD provided the balance, it would potentially increase the amount available to expand the experience to the benefit of all.
Capt Welborn replied that when he spoke about co-ordination and co-operation he was focussing on boats, as the RN operated 92 different types. A recent study had persuaded the RN that youth and cadet boats needed to be treated differently, and while the RN might be reducing size and scope, the SCC was not. He acknowledged that the number of craft needed to be rationalised and together with Martin Coles he would have a closer look at how best to achieve this. Julian Brazier asked whether they could maintain the 45% of non-public money and still spread their wings. Martin Coles explained that the MSSC model focussed across the Maritime sector where there was funding and this provided additional leverage. Despite concerns about funding, it was an enabling model that allowed them to increase the amount of funding by increased charitable activity. A concern was that this should not be seen as the only route but as a partnership, which is the way they work with the RN. However, by the MSSC being effectively contracted out, the Navy can focus on core business and MSSC in turn can focus on running a youth organisation. He was optimistic for the future as the model enables them to be flexible in these uncertain times. Regarding premises, there were challenges, but in Salisbury there is a unit that cost £650,000 to build and in Woking one that cost £1.6m, which are both first class and were delivered by being a charity and working with the community.
Col Urquhart said that it was difficult because of the risks attached to ACF activity and therefore, out of necessity, MoD had brought the ACF closer into the military chain of command. If they were to break it out the question would be how, if safety was not to be compromised. One way to save money would be to replace Regular Army manpower with Reservists in the Cadet Training Teams that support the CCF. This would take time to effect as doing so now would release 270 personnel back into the Regular Army at a time it was reducing and it might not welcome the bulge. However, there is a view that they can still deliver the training and support needed with full-time trainers.
A/Cdre Cooper said that in common with others they had evolved since 1941 and if starting again they would not begin where they are now because there are 930 squadrons belonging to 36 wings within 6 regions, reflecting the way the RAF has developed. Inevitably, there were ways to make efficiencies and she was in the process of identifying the poor cadet experience, as every cadet should be able to have the same good experience anywhere in the Country. For example, some squadrons were keen on shooting, perhaps to the detriment of other exercises that should really be core, and there needed to be a robust mechanism to determine the cost of core activity. Outside of core, there were activities the ATC would like to conduct, but would not necessarily have the money for, and if it had to take cuts, then she might either reduce activity or seek funding from elsewhere. The biggest risk of a significant cut in public funding would be to the adult volunteers who give their time, just want to engage with cadets, and would not want to carry a larger bureaucratic burden. Julian Brazier said that the burden of paperwork needed to be addressed, as not all of it was safety related.
Hugh Purcell informed the group that while he was present as Clerk to the Group, as Chief Executive of Greater London RFCA he had a direct and deep relationship with the military cadet forces. In addition, he had other roles, one of which was to chair Youth Organisations Uniform (YOU) London on behalf of the Lord-Lieutenant, Sir David Brewer. YOU started in Croydon about two years ago as a bright idea of a Metropolitan Police Sergeant who was also an instructor in the ATC. The benefits of sharing best practice, instructors, property and the like seemed self-evident and as a result he now chaired the pan-London Board that had 10 uniformed member and several support organisations, with the 32 boroughs each having their own board chaired by the Representative Deputy Lieutenant. YOU was not prescriptive as to who could join at borough level. The YOU strategy document had been revised (copy attached) and a key principle was to invest in 998 years of success and for politicians and others not to invent new schemes. The benefits were already evident. An example is the Defence estate in Ilford, occupied by TA, ACF and ATC. St John Ambulance had written saying that their estate was in many places in poor condition or they were paying a high commercial rent. They are now sharing; they pay a small rent to cover costs, thus reducing running costs to Defence while they give free 1st Aid training to the other occupants. In addition, the SCC had centralized their weapons in one of the armouries. YOU is now being taken a stage further and is a key part of Boris Johnson’s Time for Action strategy. Other sources of funding are also being sought to address the shortage of adults, as the number of young can only increase with a commensurate increase in adults. However, being realistic, if one takes money from others sources they may wish to have a say in who one recruits. The London joint ACF/Metropolitan Police Service outreach programme could provide a very good filter system as well as safeguards. Finally, and importantly, the uniformed organizations are reaching into all parts of society, such a NEETS and kids on the cusp of crime, that other organizations do not, but too often the perception is otherwise.
This YOU model, adapted and adopted, is now rolling out nationally through Youth United, which is chaired by Peter Cruddas, CMC Markets, on behalf of the Prince of Wales. The aim is to grow partnerships, working together, and Youth United is much more than uniform - it is all-encompassing.
Julian Brazier thought this was most impressive and there was a good model there.
Question 1 - Nicholas Soames MP commented that he was awestruck by what cadets do and congratulated all three services on the way they did it. Once a cadet, he was now Honorary Colonel of Bristol University OTC and he tried to do what he could for cadets in Sussex. He was struck by, and interested to hear more about, what the Clerk had said about sharing resources and asked if the MoD writ required the cadet forces to cooperate with each in areas such as training and joint facilities. He presumed that shared facilities would attract more money and asked that as the footprint of the services reduced, whether there was any agreement with the super garrisons to have a sort of outreach for cadets, based on the super garrison concept. Cdre Mansergh replied that sharing could be better and there was a need to examine how best to use the estate and facilities; the YER would address this. He had chaired a Youth United meeting last week where one of the ideas talked about was ‘consortium buying’, where smaller groups joined with others with common interests to buy facilities. He thought there was scope under the umbrella of Youth United to look at how other organisations could work with the Scouts, Guides and other uniformed organizations who, as charitable organizations, were potentially struggling in the current climate.
Nicholas Soames said sharing in his area was awful and there was little point sweating blood to raise money to put a new roof on a Scout Hut, when they could share a TA Centre. Worse, was where the SCC, ACF or ATC had the lead and would not let anyone else share. He thought it very important for the adults who just wanted to engage with young people, there was a way to bring them together, for example by sharing transport, and then everything would be easier.
Col Urquhart said this was a recognized problem, but there was historical and cultural baggage that would take time to put right. However, there was agreement to build tri-service cadet huts that different organizations could use on different nights, but this top-level policy would take time to implement. Regarding super garrisons, the Regular Army was required to assist with cadets, but the future footprint was going to be smaller, as was the case for the RN and RAF. Although regular units were keen to support their cadets units, the reality was that they were just too busy and could only do a little bit here and there.
Question 2 - Madeleine Moon MP said she grew up in the cadet forces, as her father had been a Sea Cadet. In addition, she represents a constituency where many adults who are involved in community safety, whether it is SCC, Life Guards, the RNLI or the Coast Guard, came through the SCC. That is where they got their initial experience before joining the RN or one of the coastal organizations. She wondered how much coordination and feedback there was between the SCC, Coast Guard and RNLI, one of the richest voluntary organizations in the UK, and if there was a working partnership. Martin Coles replied that he completely took her point and while there was a relationship, it could be better. That morning he had discussed the potential to leverage further the good relationship between the MSSC and RNLI, precisely because it was a large and wealthy organization. He agreed that the point about working together was valid in terms of premises and partnerships but should extend to the whole of the local area. If one were to go to any town one could find a ‘pretty rubbishy’ British Legion hut and Parish Hall, with people trying to run nurseries, lunch clubs for the elderly and the like. All were looking for shared resources and in many cases would need them at different times, so reducing the risk of conflict. The examples of Salisbury and Woking were working just like that, the former delivering a Parish Hall, the latter set up as a charitable business and selling space. There was a huge amount more that cadet forces needed to do in this area, as indeed did all of the units.
Question 3 - Lord Selsdon explained that as a member of the House of Lords Defence Group, known as the Warlords, he was disappointed that the MoD did not want them to have any debates about the future of Defence. Therefore, they thought they would try to get at the young and he offered the MoD the Chamber for cadets and others to debate the Defence of the Realm under the outreach project; the briefers would be the Chiefs of Staff. He also offered the cooperation of Sports Leaders UK, which had recruited nearly 5,000 young people and encouraged each other to play games. To tie all this in there would be a day during the Jubilee celebrations when 1000 vessels would be on the Thames and every naval ship would ring its bell. The Ark Royal bell had just today been delivered to HMS Ark Royal. This was a challenge that MoD could join where no funding was needed. He said they could fit 824 peers into the House and the Information Committee had approved the occasion; someone just needed to choose a date. Julian Brazier thought this a remarkable idea and asked Cdre Mansergh to take it back to the MoD. He thanked Lord Selsdon for the offer.
Question 4 - Oliver Colvile MP said that his main interest was naval but he had been to a TA centre recently and noted that where the cadets trained was in a deplorable state. He urged the MoD to have a look at the state of the building. He said they had done well at raising nearly 50% from outside the MoD, and he wondered whether they were eligible to receive money from the Lottery Fund. He too was struck by the concept of more sharing of facilities and he wanted to know whether approaching charities might be another area to tap into for money in this time of austerity.
Air Cdre Cooper said that the challenge of seeking donations to support the ATC was that you could not rely on it being long term. Hence, one depended on the rock of public funding and cut ones cloth accordingly each year. This was not the best way to run an organization the size of the ATC and external funding was something they would all have to look at. Currently the approach was amateurish as it was not something they were used to doing and if they were to look at non-public sources this would need to be done in a professional way.
Martin Coles said that the MSSC raised money from other organizations, particularly for large projects, and The Jack Petchey Foundation had funded a boat on the Thames that cost about £3m. They were currently raising £7.5m for a new tall ship. He said they lock into such sources, but thought that there was a difference in perspective. MSSC, originally Sea Cadets, had been founded as a charity in 1815 and had always been a charity. It only started to gain financial support from the MoD during the 2nd World War, so from the perspective of being a charity it was a Youth Maritime Charity that had gained partnership and support. However, it was the other way round for the other cadet forces, which had originally been set up in-house by their parent forces.
Oliver Colvile MP asked if they were prohibited from going to the National Lottery or any other charity for funds. Capt Windsor replied that the SCC had specifically gone to the London Marathon and Lottery Funds. Julian Brazier commented that it would be more difficult for the ACF and ATC as they were not charities. Cdre Mansergh said MoD had negotiated an agreement with the Treasury that they could take third party funding. With regard to Big Society, he said that they were looking to seek a partnership with a third party funder or, where there was local demand, to create a pool. He wished to force this issue from the bottom up so that others would have to respond and deliver; this could then be a prototype for a system that would eventually catch on.
Question 5 - Graham Evans MP introduced himself as the member for Weaver Vale, Cheshire. The SCC had approached him recently because the Army and Air Force had sorted out their accommodation, but the Navy hut was still falling to bits. They had gone cap in hand to their MP for support and on their behalf he had made use of his business contacts. He said that they just needed somewhere to train and store their canoes. It also struck him, that in an area of deprivation, there must be a way to engage the local business community. He wanted to know to whom he should speak and Julian Brazier advised him to talk to Martin Coles and his regional RFCA.
Question 6 - Roger Gale MP said that as there was a different funding scheme for each cadet organization he recommended care be taken to avoid the Treasury thinking that if one could manage as a charity, the others could too. In order to make ‘jointery’ work, funding had to be pulled together along with everything else. In North Camden there were at least three good ATC and SCC sites and a very good Army Cadet Unit but they only ever met on Remembrance Sunday. However, ten days ago he had presented awards at the end of a joint training course, which, though mainly for the ACF, they hoped to include the SCC in the next one. He had seen the superb facility at the old RAF base at Manston. What was now needed was to impress on all cadet groups that they should pool resources and pull together to overcome some of the natural rivalries that prevented the sharing of facilities.
Col Urquhart said there had been a by-product from Cadet 150 celebrations, which in planning and preparation had brought the three services together. The RN and MSSC had invited the ACF and ATC to take part in last year’s Trafalgar Day commemoration and this will now happen every year. He had noted that change was occurring and the organizations realised that they had much in common and were not a threat to each other.
Question 7 - Therese Coffey MP, whose constituency included the Suffolk coastal sea cadets, said she was interested in the challenges placed on recruiting adults and volunteers and whether it was the time commitment, the need for CRB clearance or the lack of skills possessed by those volunteering. She was aware of another charity, Skillforce, which used former members of the armed forces to provide positive influence within schools, and asked why they could not become adult volunteers. AFTER NOTE: SkillForce is an educational charity working with 14 – 19 year old young people in partnership with schools. There is nothing to prevent SkillForce employees becoming Adult Volunteers in their own right but the Cadet Force model and ethos are based on people volunteering, rather than being paid, to deliver training and as such it would be inappropriate for a school to “buy-in” SkillForce to deliver Cadet Activity (as opposed to the SkillForce programme). There may, however, be linkages with SkillForce’s work in the Troops to Teachers pilot.
Question 8 - Tony Baldry MP said he represented North Oxfordshire, which had some vibrant cadet units, including the most inland sea cadet units in the country and a founder squadron of the Air Cadets (1941). He made two points:
i) The irritations caused by the individual service chains of command and the lack of communication across the cadet organisations. He thought it essential that at county or area level this was properly co-ordinated, e.g. in Banbury the Navy and the Army shared a TA Centre, but for historic reasons the air cadets did not.
ii) He had been impressed at the Banbury ATC 70th anniversary dinner, where there were no fewer than 10 Pilot Officers and Flying Officers who had come through the ATC and joined the RAF as regular officers. He thought cadet units should get a bounty for each person they sent into the regular forces. This number would be high as 40% of the SCC in Banbury join the RN and something in return would be very welcome.
Julian Brazier MP closed the meeting by thanking the speakers for giving up their evening; much had been learned from the session. There were ideas on how to work more closely together, including making better use of the estate. He then picked up on Madeleine Moon’s point, that having sweated blood over three years to get a new set-up for her sea cadets, which is primarily a canoeing organization, what was needed was not necessarily ‘jointery’ with the Army or Air Cadets, but ‘jointery’ with another water-related unit. However, these were complex issues and James Plastow would be back in three months’ time to give the Group all the answers.
Col (Retd.) Hugh Purcell OBE DL, Honorary Clerk to the APGRF&C.