Essex: Volunteer Police Cadets eager to get back into our communities
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Our Volunteer Police Cadets are raring to get back into action after a challenging year for them and their leaders.
But although they and their leaders had to follow Government restrictions like everyone else, they too, embraced the digital world so they could stay connected and continue the VPC programme online.
Volunteer Police Cadet co-ordinator, Neil Dibell, says: “Normally, our cadets get involved in community engagement events, working with their local Community Policing Team around crime prevention advice, and raising money for local charities.
“But this has not been possible for the past 14 months. However, despite the restrictions, leaders have put in a lot of hard work in to keep our cadets engaged, continue their education and provide them with varied experiences, both in the world of policing and beyond.
“As well as arranging relevant policing inputs, leaders also came up with new, fun and innovative ideas to keep their cadets interested, from quizzes and bingo to online cook-a-thons.
“Their enthusiasm has remained undiminished and, this National Volunteers Week, I would like to thank all our cadets and their leaders for the enormous amount of effort they have put in this year to volunteer as much as they can and ensure their units are in great shape when they fully start up again.”
We have 13 Volunteer Police Cadet Units across Essex and, although our 180 cadets have not been able to volunteer as much as usual, Harwich cadets and their families gave up part of their Christmas Day to ensure lonely and vulnerable members of their community received a meal and a gift bag – at a social distance, of course!
And, as Colchester Zoo started to prepare for its long-awaited reopening, the local VPC Unit volunteered to help. It was the first time the cadets had been able to meet in person for more than a year.
Neil says: “As restrictions continue to ease we are returning our 13 units back to face-to-face meetings and the leaders are looking forward to being able to continue the cadet programme while the cadets are looking forward to being visible at community events again.
“We are looking for new leaders to join our existing unit leadership teams across the county. As a VPC leader you will be involved in exciting projects within your community and you can develop yourself to lead, inspire and develop the young people of Essex.”
Clacton VPC Unit lead Nikki Doubleday says volunteering as an adult leader has benefited her, as well as the cadets.
“The VPC scheme helps cadets develop into fine young people, who are equipped through learning to do the right thing and take ownership. And it also helps the adult volunteers to develop and learn new skills, while in a safe learning environment and while having some fun.
“I am so proud of the cadets in both units I have served. Some of them have had to overcome struggles and battles but they are good people who are a great benefit to their communities.”
If you are interested in joining the Volunteer Police Cadet (VPC) scheme, either as a volunteer leader or a cadet, visit www.essex.police.uk/cadets and register your interest.
Note: images reflect social distancing guidelines in place at the time the pictures were taken.