Originally Posted by Paul F
Thanks for that,yep the ATC and ACF are part funded by MOD, Sea cadets had that chance many many moons ago but decided against it as every time there are defence cuts the army and air cadets get hit aswell, alas they have no proper uniform any more andtheres another round of cuts coming up.
I regularly help out with a school Combined Cadet Force, which has an Army, Navy, and an RAF section. All 3 are primarily funded by the Army, but get a little bit back from the "parent" services for camps and courses etc. The Navy courses are always popular, as some of our kids have gone off and done PB2 courses over 5 days paying only £16 (to cover food!) with even a rail warrant thrown in! It is noticeable that the Army sections have an adoptive regiment (we're Royal Artillery) and get quite a lot of input etc, whereas the RAF and Navy seem to be barely tolerated on base visits etc. It's certainly true that the Army cadets get issued more kit, mainly because they get more support. It also helps that it's a fairly respected South London Private school, so for the most part the kids parents are minted, and don't mind paying over the odds for camps and courses.
On the other end of the scale, Gravesend Sea Cadets now operate out of my home sailing club in Gravesend, and their boss has certainly put a lot of work in getting the only 2 bosuns they could get from a wrecked status up to a fairly nicely useable one, because they don't have the funding to get anything that's reasonable to start with. They were lucky enough to get a 4m Searider from eBay, but despite the fact that they aren't funded by the Navy, they still have to abide by the navy rule that says they must fit a prop guard, which hits the speed and economy. They're one of the better equipped cadet units, but the lifejackets they use are still the same old ropey looking ones! Better funding would really help them, especially as their membership is currently around 25, and a good strength would be more than 6 times that.
I had the time of my life as a cadet, and I think it's really sad that it's become so restrictive with what you can and can't do. When we go on exercise, in addition to our safety manauls we have to carry as adult officers, we also get a folder containing between 10-30 pages of itemised risk assessments, which have to be done for each camp.
The problem partly stems from the fact that a lot of people don't understand the risk assessment process. It's not so much about not doing something "because there's a risk" (a bit of controlled risk is actually quite a good thing, in my book) risk assessments are about identifying risks, and ensuring that you are aware of them, and take the necessary
precautions. People aren't superhuman, and you can't protect against everything, you can just be aware that it's there. To call something off because of a dangerous hazard is fair enough, to call something off because there is a miniscule chance xxx might happen is just daft.
I will always happily remember while I was working as a skivvy at my old school I was asked to take a Risk assessment for a trip to London from a teacher to the Deputy Master. The Risk assessment only contained 2 items, 1) Risk of international terrorist bomb, 2) risk of stepping in dog poo. Classic!
Ref: the suing the backside of everyone comment, that's very true. It doesn't matter who was a fault, whether anyone was actually at fault or not, any of that, the important thing is that someone must be blamed, and someone must pay for everything. In genuine cases of misinformation or neglect, then fine, but people seem all too ready to point the finger at anyone, even if they did all they could.
Phew, just read all that, and it looks like I'm having a real rant. I'm a nice person, honest! I'm studying Disaster Risk Management at Uni, so risk assessments etc are a topic fairly close to my heart, and having experienced lack of cadet group funding first hand, I feel strongly about all that too!