NEWS

JULY 31ST 2017

Husband and wife team enjoy volunteering in Matlock

Laura and Russell Gardener Derbyshire ACF

Laura and Russell Gardener

A couple from Derbyshire are enjoying the opportunity to volunteer together at an Army Cadet Force (ACF) detachment in Matlock.

Staff Sergeant Instructor Laura and Sergeant Instructor Russell Gardener joined Derbyshire ACF to make a difference in their community and help young people attending the detachment to learn new skills.

Laura, aged 28, originally joined the Cadet Force as a shy 13-year-old cadet but enjoyed it so much she decided to stay on and become an adult volunteer after her 18th birthday.

Explaining more about her volunteering journey, she said: “Joining the ACF has allowed me to develop my confidence. As a young child I was quite a nervous person but I soon developed the ability to speak to new people and make new friends after I joined the cadets.

“As an adult volunteer I have gained a First Responders qualification through the organisation as well as my First Aid at Work Certificate, both of which can be transferred into my civilian life and career.

“Although I am on maternity leave at the moment, I work for the Youth Hostel Association and I know the organisational skills I have learnt through my volunteering have been really useful in my job.”

Laura explained that because the ACF has been such a big part of her life she also wanted her husband, Russell, to join the youth organisation to allow them to spend extra time together away from their family home.

She continued:  “At the start of our relationship I encouraged Russell to join the Cadet Force, at the time it was just us so we had lots of time to commit to volunteering. Over the last few years life has moved on, we have had a family but we are both still committed to our volunteering duties.

“Volunteering is really important to both of us as we can see the benefit we are making to the lives of the young people who parade with us in Matlock. We are really lucky that we have a supportive family who are happy to step in when needed to help with babysitting. It’s really great to be able to spend time with my husband in a different environment in which we can continually encourage each other to learn new skills.”

Speaking about why he would encourage others to join the ACF, Russell Gardener said: “If you are looking for a new hobby and want to work with young people joining the ACF could be for you. You really can balance volunteering around your family and any other commitments, taking on as many responsibilities as you want to.

“I’m so pleased Laura encouraged me to join her at the ACF just under four years ago. I can honestly say I’ve made some great friends and have fond memories where I have helped to inspire young people to challenge themselves and become more independent.”

To become an adult volunteer in the ACF you do not need any military or teaching experience as everything can be learnt after you apply.

Derbyshire ACF has detachments across the county including Derby, Chesterfield, Long Eaton, Buxton, Glossop, Ilkeston, New Mills, Matlock and Chapel-En-Le Frith.

To find out more about volunteering in your area with the ACF contact 01332 772025 ext. 21 or email em-der-ao1@rfca.mod.uk

“As an adult volunteer I have gained a First Responders qualification through the organisation as well as my First Aid at Work Certificate, both of which can be transferred into my civilian life and career."