Chichester Army Cadets look to bolster cadet numbers

Chichester Army Cadets are fighting back with plans to take on more cadets after previous lockdown reduced its numbers.

Chichester's Army Cadets are hoping to recruit new cadets this January
Chichester's Army Cadets are hoping to recruit new cadets this January

Mark Hickman, who runs the Chichester detachment of the Sussex Army Cadets, has announced that it is looking to take in 30 new cadets by the end of January.

The youth organisation, he explains, primarily focusses on imparting life skills onto 13-18 year-olds.

Mr Hickman said : "It's a real boost for kids these days, they become confident and know how to talk to people, and you can put them in charge and they work really well. We’ve had cadets who have come in at 13 years old, being timid little things, by the time they have left they have had 5 years of team building and building self confidence and they are so much stronger personalities and so much more self reliant."

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The Army Cadets meet twice a week to parade at the Keep on Broyle Road, Chichester, and then have one weekend activity a month that cadets can volunteer to be a part of. These activities include the county shooting team, doing Kit Car (where they take apart a mini 4x4 put it back together and race it) and signals training specialising in how to use a radio on top of various sports.

Mr Hickman added: "Adventure training is something that lots of people are getting very excited about because we’ve got our own mountain bikes, kayaks, we also do rock climbing and coasteering, there's a very wild range of activities for them to get involved with."

They also have social events as well, last summer the detachment walked down to Billy's on the Beach and had fish and chips, where the cadets parents picked them up and in a couple of weeks will be the Christmas dinner.

Mr Hickman, who is a volunteer, has spent 11 years with the Sussex Cadets and previously was in the Army. He explained that the lockdowns of the previous year have dramatically impacted the number of cadets in the squad with no younger cadets being able to join and progress through the Force.

Mr Hickman also spoke of the adventure weekends and the large annual cadets fortnight that cadets can go on: "At the end of January we are taking all the cadets to Crowborough, there they will gain their APC certificate. It costs £20 for the whole weekend includes transport, all food and accommodation. There will be a full regime of training with everything from first aid, ranges, field craft, drill and turn out, and physical training which will be followed by an evening meal, then they will play games like tag archer, paintball. A few more games on Sunday and then pack up after lunch."

To get more information go to the Army Cadets website . People can come to a couple of parade nights to see if it is something they like and then it is £20 to join but this includes cost for all the uniform required.