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Air Cadet Association Launches

The Air Cadet Association (ACA) was born out of the former embryo charity Air Cadet Connect (ACC).

ACC was set up by a small group of like- minded people who saw a need for a charity that would support the RAFAC but be completely independent of it. Over time the original aims have evolved and a clear need has been identified for an organisation that can offer welfare support at times of hardship for present and past members on a case by case basis.

ACC was never registered with the Charities Commission (CC) because under CC rules a charity cannot be registered unless annual income exceeds £5000. If and when ACA’s income exceeds this amount we will then register with the Charity Commission. Rules and guides can be found at https://www.gov.uk/setting-up-charity/register-your-charity

The original Trustees of ACC have agreed to rename the charity and rework the Constitution to meet these revised aims and objectives. A consultation process is in place to ensure all views are considered in order to have a smooth transition from ACC to ACA. Anyone who has already taken out membership of ACC will automatically transfer to ACA membership. Any funds held by ACC will transfer to ACA. The ACC website which currently allows for on line applications for membership needs to be reformatted which will take time and we are also deciding on the new Branding.

ACA will have a Board of Trustees who will oversee Governance and number of sub committees with particular responsibilities. The Welfare sub -committee will handle all requests for welfare support based on a set of agreed criteria. We will initially hope to establish 6 Branches based on the RAFAC Region structure and ultimately, if needed Wing level Branches. All appointments will be as laid out in the Constitution which will be published once the Consultation process is complete.

ACA Support for Alan

WO Alan WiggsAlan is an Warrant Officer (ATC) with 378 (Mannock) Sqn in Northamptonshire. On the 1st April 2016 Alan was taken to hospital in the early hours of the morning and diagnosed with a rare form of stroke. The stroke had affected Alan’s ability to swallow and after 9 days in hospital he was weak and frail and was eventually being fed by a tube directly into his stomach known as a peg feed. Alan said that his spirits were lifted when he was visited by WO(ATC) Dan Haywood (Wing Warrant, South and East Midlands Wing then) and WO(ATC) Rob Phillips. Both of them encouraged him to get better and to get back to ATC duties.

Alan was discharged after 3 weeks and the long road to recovery began. He had regular visits from the community stroke team and they worked very hard at getting him to swallow again, starting with just 3 tea spoons of liquid a day which was very hard to get used too. It took around an hour each morning to have a liquid feed, medication and water intake. Alan was continually exercising his throat, and pushing himself to get stronger and do more to try and get back to the life style he was used to.

At first Alan needed support with all of his personal care and none of it could have been done without the support, love and dedication of his girlfriend Sarah. Sarah had a full time job, their one year old daughter and a house to look after as well caring for Alan. To do this Sarah had to take unpaid time off from work and this presented some financial difficulties. WO(ATC) Dan Haywood had stayed in touch and was aware of their problems and that in particular Alan and Sarah were struggling to cover their childcare costs. Dan decided to ask WO(ATC) Simon Getley to apply for a Welfare Grant from the Air Cadet Association on their behalf.

The ACA was delighted to be able to help and awarded enough funds to cover a month of childcare costs. Alan said:

“As you can imagine we were overwhelmed by this, Firstly, for Dan and Simon for putting in the request for me and being part of my success story. Secondly for the generosity of the Air Cadet Association for being there for someone they have never met before and being able to help someone that needed financial support at a very difficult time. I can only thank them for helping with my recovery.