November 24th 2022

RFCA Estate Optimisation programme underway with first modernisation

Two female Cadets in uniform with thumbs up, beside a tower made of spaghetti and marshamallows.

Brimington Cadets tackling an 'engineering' challenge with spaghetti and marshmallows

Army Cadets from Staveley, Derbyshire, have relocated a short distance to modernised facilities in Brimington, as part of a national plan (the RFCA Estate Optimisation programme) to improve the buildings used by Cadets.

Brimington ACF welcomed 16 Cadets, including three new recruits, to its opening evening.  The Cadets have all transferred from Staveley, where the building was showing its age and not suitable for their current, or future, needs.  The original building was also difficult to access via a narrow drive, with limited vision when exiting the site, and was opposite the entrance to a busy industrial estate.  The new premises at Brimington are in a more suitable residential location and will provide an improved place to train, as funding was provided to enhance the facilities prior to the move, as part of the RFCA Estate Optimisation programme.

3 female Army Cadets sitting on the floor joining spaghetti strands with marshmallows.

After a safety induction on the opening night, Cadets had fun constructing towers from marshmallows and spaghetti, and creating baskets to catch falling eggs!  There was a fair amount of mess but lots of fun was had.  Challenges such as this test the Cadets’ teamwork, creativity and engineering skills.

Shane Panter, Adult Under Officer at Brimington ACF, said: “The new building is a much-improved environment for our Cadets, and we are looking forward to getting involved with the Brimington community, and hopefully welcoming more new starters from the local area. Cadets offers young people the opportunity to make new friendships, add skills to their CVs, and try new experiences, it’s a great family to join.”

RFCA Estate Optimisation programme

The Ministry of Defence’s RFCA Estate Optimisation (REO) Programme is a tri-service project that aims to ensure the estate managed by all 13 of the UK’s RFCAs provides the best possible places for Cadets and Reserves to work and train in.  The programme follows a national review of the Reserve and Cadet estate which took place in 2020 and examined in detail the reach, condition and suitability of every Cadet and Reserve building, as well as their value for money.

Although the initiative is led by the Ministry of Defence, the Council of RFCAs, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation as well as regional RFCAs, are closely involved.

East Midlands RFCA has recently recruited a third surveyor to join its current team, who manages almost 400 buildings that serve the region’s Cadets and Reserves.16 Army Cadets on parade in a car park.

“Our longer-term plan is to adapt and streamline our estate to ensure we have the right buildings and facilities in place to meet the needs of Cadets and Reserves into the future,” said RFCA Head of Estates, Martin Capewell.

“Some sites may have to close, while others will be redeveloped or extended so they can accommodate more than one unit, but it is important to note that no Cadet unit will close as a result, all are being re-provisioned.”

Find out more about our Estates work.