One of the Armed Forces Interest Group’s major responsibilities is each year is the administration associated with the four major awards the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire makes to Cadets in Gloucestershire in recognition of exemplary service in the community. Either individually or as units, cadets do an immense amount of excellent work in and on behalf of our community. They are a substantial force for good and it is reassuring to think that many will soon form a significant part of the group of young adults whose endeavours will shape the future of our county. It is therefore entirely appropriate to recognise their efforts in helping to make Gloucestershire an even better place in which to live. While our awards recognise cadets, the Honourable Company also salutes the adult volunteers, both civilians and uniformed, without whose efforts these tremendous individual and collective achievements would not be possible.
Col Tony Singer took over as Chair of the Armed Forces Group in January 2017; the updated terms of reference shown opposite were published the following month.
The latest guidance on the Annual Cadet Awards is here.
The Armed Forces Interest Group sponsors an annual award scheme to promote and encourage work in the community by the local cadet forces. There is one Individual Award of £250 and 3 Unit Awards of £500, one each to the Army Cadets, Sea Cadets & Air Cadets; funding itself is provided by the Honourable Company's Charitable Trust. The Individual Award is presented at the Lord-Lieutenant’s Awards Ceremony and the Unit Awards are presented at an appropriate unit drill night. The 2017 award winners are listed here.
The unsolicited letter below illustrates the value - not just in material terms - of what our annual awards mean to both units and individuals cadets:
SUPPORT FROM THE HONOURABLE COMPANY OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE
WHAT IT MEANS TO A CADET UNIT
FLYING OFFICER SALLY-ANNE EVANS RAFAC
OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, 649 (DURSLEY) SQUADRON AIR TRAINING CORPS
Until 2016 I had never heard of this well intentioned group. It was only when invited to submit a citation about what our Unit had done for the Community that I discovered their existence, and what it could mean for us going on into the future.
In 2016, 649 (Dursley) Squadron Air Cadets were recipients of the Unit Award. We were presented with it at our 75th Anniversary year closing event, which was supported by members of our local community plus distinguished guests from the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire.
Most importantly the Unit Award gave us publicity and recognition at ground level. With this came "kudos" for our Squadron and Community recognition throughout our area of influence and beyond. In addition, we received a generous sum of money that we could use to improve things for the Squadron. After much deliberation it was decided that we should be more recognisable to others, so arrangements were made to purchase two large feather flags which have subsequently been used at our promotional events over the last 12 months. These events have drawn a wide circle of visitors extending beyond the boundaries of the County. Our cadets are proud to be members of the Squadron, and like to be easily recognised with the flags there for all to see. By having the money to purchase them, the flags support our activities in the Community, and because our contribution to Community work is valued, cadets are therefore encouraged to go out and do more in return.
In 2017, 649 also received the Individual Cadet Award. The Cadet concerned has a long history of volunteering outside of cadets, as well as within it.The support and recognition that this Cadet has had from the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire has also meant a lot for the whole Squadron. The money that the Cadet will receive is going to help him return to the Squadron to parade whilst studying at a local university. This means that our cadets and staff will get additional valued input from a dedicated member who would otherwise find it very difficult to have returned to help us. The Cadet concerned will be studying aviation engineering, and is therefore very keen to maintain ties with the Squadron.
The Honourable Company of Gloucestershire are able to support groups which have demonstrated particular dedication, deserve special recognition and praise. Financial donations of course are always welcome, but the publicity and spirit that goes with the recognition is tremendously important.
To maintain links with the Gloucestershire-based units of our Armed Forces, both Regular and Reserves, and the Cadets, including promoting and rewarding excellence, encouraging leadership and debate on key issues, and fostering links with schools, colleges and universities, by:
• Encouraging and rewarding Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force, and Air Training Corps support to the local community at both the individual and Unit level.
• Identifying how the knowledge, expertise, experience, contacts and influence of HCG members can add value to the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force, Air Training Corps, and Reserve Forces.
• Developing the Honourable Company's understanding of defence-related issues.
• Supporting the Armed Forces Covenant in Gloucestershire.
• Developing and maintaining close links with both the Wessex Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association and the South-West Area Sea Cadets.
• Promoting and supporting, where appropriate, the recruitment and retention of Reserve Forces in Gloucestershire.
• Promoting awareness of the Armed Forces’ and Cadets’ contribution to, and participation in, the community.
• Supporting, where appropriate, the activity of the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force, and Air Training Corps based in Gloucestershire.
• Promoting, where appropriate, mutual support between the three individual Cadet forces in conjunction with Combined Cadet Forces in Gloucestershire.
• Identifying emerging opportunities to employ charitable funds to further the objects of the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force, and Air Training Corps.