Cadet comms

We’ve been spending a bunch of time on Sqn talking about what platform we should be using for comms between cadets/staff - and it turns out there’s no good options. Some Sqn’s use closed FB groups, some use Discord, some WhatsApp, and there’s a bunch of others too. However, none of these seem ideal as they either have T&Cs that disallow under 14s, or they expose phone numbers to each other which seems bad from an anti-bullying point of view.

Therefore, I was wondering what else people use that might be a little safer?

Being a software guy I could probably build something which was more suited to youth groups/safeguarding and the sort of comms they have, but that’d be something that would cost (say £10/mo) so might not be as practical for Sqn’s to run. Might this be something that could be useful?

So there’s not anything essentially that suits 12yrs old and up. Fun.

Have you considered a notice board in a safe and secure location that is updated every half hour :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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Have you tried a WhatsApp community? We haven’t used them but I believe people can opt in to it and then don’t get their number shown to others?

Can people see your number in a WhatsApp community?

To protect user privacy, your phone number is only visible to community admins, people who have saved your number in their contacts, or those who have your number from your other chats. This prevents unwanted contact and reduces the risk of scraping people’s phone numbers.

I didn’t even know about WhatsApp community :exploding_head:


Yes. These are only accessible 2 days a week for a couple of hours.

Unfortunately not useful when activities (including core things like flying) are advertised with less than one week’s notice.

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WhatsApp limit to 13+

A fair few squadrons now use Bands - built for sports teams so has additional safety features in due to the youth element (if you select youth team) has various functions on it.

Can be used as an App, or on any browser.


A few squardons around use use - similar alternative by the look of it.

What is provided by those two apps could surely be integrated into what we already have?

Not enough time and money.

I think if someone asked the question, and said people were using those two apps, there would be an IBN with a month telling people they are not allowed.

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Oh, no doubt.

Not used, but Spond has enough safeguarding features that it really shouldn’t be an issue.

We use Spond and it works well. Everything the young person sees is also available to the parent / guardian. Age is not a problem and you can have groups for flights etc.

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we use a closed facebook group for the whole sqn and a WhatsApp group for cadets

Getting our cadets to read what we post is a nightmare. So we post on the parents group and we are inundated with various messages, with 98% of their answers being on Cadet Portal.

I spend most of my time sending new welcome emails and going through how the app works most cadet evenings :grimacing:

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Sounds like our new cadets :laughing:

WhatsApp community shares numbers with everyone in the community so whilst it can be used as a method of opt in it doesn’t overcome the visible number problem.
If you are only looking to send information then consider using the Gov Notify service, sign up with your MOD address and it’ll give you some large amount of free texts to send per month. Granted it doesn’t allow for 2 way comms but if you’re just looking at disseminating information prior to a weekend or something then it can be quite effective.


You can reply to Gov Notify texts.

I set up a cadet NCO (Staff cadet) with a secondary duty of Cadet Portal SME and that has been great as his “job spec” is to get everyone logged onto cadet portal, get their pictures uploaded and get them checking it and understanding what they can do on it, on a regular basis. Although we have a Cadet parents Facebook page, I like to teach independence and self motivation, I will happily bat back an e-mail from a parent saying Cadet Bloggs isn’t going to be down tonight as they are on holiday with a return e-mail thanking them and advising that their beloved Cadet Bloggs has a portal to record absences on, if its not on there it is recorded as unauthorised when I do the register.

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They know I will record them as absent if they do not use Portal which could count against them for future promotions. And I will take that advice and look into choosing a reliable NCO and take them through the process of keeping cadets on top of their profile etc.

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