The other highlight of the morning session was the launch of the digital platform that will increase both the efficiency of local programmes and the safety for the cadets. The system will register and track the cadets' progress through their VPC journey, while allowing leaders to plan and manage local volunteering events that the cadets take part in.
The afternoon was taken up with a series of workshops including:
"Growing your own volunteers" led by PC Stuart Kenworthy from Hillingdon, West London. Stuart passed on his experiences of developing a cadre of 17 adult volunteers who are all ex cadets and continue to support the programme as adult volunteers
"Assessing the value of cadets" led by Dr Iain Britton from Northampton University. This started a process of identifying case studies from around the country that can demonstrate the value of the cadet programme,
"Sharing your success" led by Elle Jeffries of Leicestershire Police who shared the outstanding work that her force has undertaken to raise the profile of their cadet programme, not only to the young people and the Police, but also the wider society
"International opportunities available through the EU Erasmus+ programme" led by our partners at Momentum World who have assisted the VPC in delivering rewarding international opportunities to young leaders (aged 18+) across Europe
The days' activities were rounded off with an evening meal and a lively quiz.
The following morning, delegates enjoyed informative and interesting presentations by Bryan Russell of Durham Agency Against Crime (DAAC) and Dr Jeffrey DeMarco, Research Fellow in Criminology at Middlesex University, and then took part in one of four workshops with a view to developing workstreams that would benefit all forces as we move forward:
1 - Managing volunteer leaders
2 - Supporting transition into adult volunteering roles
3 - Who's telling your story
4 - Development of Mini Police programme
33 cadets from 23 different forces then came together and completed the VPC ‘Leading Social Action’ training course delivered by Graeme Ironside, our VPC Social Action lead. The young people developed projects they felt could help with issues in their local area, as well as understanding their own development and how to evidence it.
The conference was rounded off by inspirational presentations from 8 groups of cadets on their social action projects which included: supporting homeless people, integrating refugees into communities, opening a youth centre for 15 to 17 year olds, protecting the public from Hate Crime and anti-social behaviour, building a community memorial garden, providing advisory services for vulnerable teenagers and supporting charities that help ex-service men and women.
Overall the conference was a huge success which was due, in no small part, to the considerable effort and contribution of many people. However, special thanks must go to Kath Bromilow from the National team for all her hard work in arranging the event, and to the volunteers from Capgemini Consulting and Leicestershire Police Volunteer Police Cadets for their invaluable assistance at the conference.