How to Make a New Squadron

If I were to want to make a new Squadron from scratch, if possible, how would I go around doing it. I’ve always been interested and I just wondered if it’d be possible, and how.

Site and security
Civ Com
Wing Support
Demographic of the area
And most importantly time and money

No doubt others will weigh in with many more ideas.

Be a DF first to establish interest.


Be prepared to identify a functional host location for your interim DF. Consider approaching your local authority for spare community education sites etc and existing clubroom locations (such as RBLS/RBL, RAFA, ex-Service clubs) that may have suitable rooms.

Bear in mind that not only will you need to see RAs from your ‘landlord’, you’ll also have to create your own RAs / Accomodation Statements. Remember that as well as Corps SH&E approval, you’ll need to also convince Wing, and satisfy your RFCA (you need them to pay your rent…Do Not fall into the trap of that failing to happen, from the outset).

I’d advise you to try and avoid school sub-lets. Not only does this become almost a home-spun version of CEP/CCF, I found it never really pleases anyone (especially parents, I noticed). Local school students hesitate to join, because it’s seen to be “too schoolly”. Other school students consider it to be alien territory, and hate to cross the threshold. And school staff smile, but really consider you to be an undesireable cuckoo in the nest.

It was a seriously-hard uphill struggle for us…about 8 years as a DF (from a flat start) in various hire-of-hall modes, 3 years as a raised squadron still in hired accom, and (finally) the last 4 years as a squadron in purpose-built accomodation.

I wish you the very best of luck with your efforts- if I hadn’t had the benefit of brilliant support from squadron staff (and Wg, when it really counted) we would still be living out of suitcases, and running all over the country, even just for a standard parade night.

PM me for more information, if you actually do intend to embark on this, as a real project. Oh, and can I just say STORAGE. There will be none. And no walls upon which to pin things. Or real equipment.

FOOTNOTE- I know of nobody, anywhere else, that has done what we did, from scratch, across the entire Corps. Common-sense would suggest that there must’ve been other community DFs, somewhere in the country, started from nothing…but I’ve yet to find a single one. When I do, I will visit them, to find-out what each of us did right, and what we both did wrong.

So if someone on ACC does know of a NoUnit->DF->Sqn birth sequence elsewhere, please do tell me about it.

Note…I do not mean a former Sqn that’s been reduced to a DF, that subsequently regains its Sqn status. I can say with absolute certainty, that would just be a stroll in the park, in comparison with doing a raw start from flat zero…especially if it was still in original accomodation.

Our squadron had historically existed from 1941 to 1955…when I arrived, half-a-century after it had closed-down, there was nothing left…not even a sqn number (that required detective work, and the assistance of some 85yr-old ex-Cadets, as I was seriously-keen on reactivating the existing history of the original squadron)

[PS “Civ Comm” mentioned in the post above…well, no, because DFs don’t have them]

Yes did it, brand new DF Nov 2008 with all the pitfalls you mentioned, became a Sqn in Feb 2011 - bloody hard work - 1st night was 2 staff, 2 cadets - biggest advice, get a Civ Comm in waiting as soon as you hit the numbers to become a Sqn. Let them “shadow” the Sqn Civ Comm so they know the ropes. Next biggest advise is PR - do every event under the sun, get the name out there - that leads to massive support and more cadets - just go with the unit name rather than the Sqn number it makes it easier for branding and save money - oh and when you finally make it, choose a Sqn number (see if it available) if you can. As Wilf says Storage is a biggy for at least 3 years the unit store was my garage, the filling/office was my home office and the “tuck” shop was transported every parade night back to my garage… In all my time in the ACO I had run DF’s, run Sqns, babysat other units, but by far the hardest was starting a unit from scratch… lastly see what cadets live near the proposed DF, about a month after I started I gained 5 cadets who lived locally but had been traveling to other units… this was great because I gained 2 extra cdts’ and2 Cpl’s and a Sgt overnight that assisted with the training and night to night running - good luck

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When I ran a DF it was pre EWOW and it wasn’t too bad. Now though unless where you hire has wifi and gives you access, you will end up either having to mess around on a phone etc OR doing it all at home and if you can at work. The former eats into your family/home life.

Accommodation costs are key and will determine how often and for how long you meet. Try and get something around £20/hr, then if you meet twice a week for 2 hours it comes in at £4160.
Church halls are a good idea as they will have all the basic facilities, ie toilets and a small kitchen and may have additional rooms you can use for lessons and maybe a room where staff can get away from the cadets at breaks. This is useful as getting your own hut when you hit the numbers, in the current climate with so much money being diverted elsewhere, creating a backlog in new builds.
See if RFCA will pay for a “yellow box” storage, to save the burden on people’s homes. If staff leave, it doesn’t mean having to redistribute the clutter. As kitkat says everything has to be transported and if you don’t live locally, leaving something at home is a real pain. If you are married or cohabiting be sure they are happy with losing part of the garage and other rooms to cadet crap. Where ever you end up, see if they will let you have a file cabinet or a cabinet, as some of the day to day rubbish can be kept there. Buy an A3 noticeboard to put lists for things on, that can come out every night.

If you don’t know the area find out as much as you can. I put a lot of things into local shops, papers and schools. I asked why there was so little interest and then found out the “HQ” was next to an area notorious for all sorts of goings on and scout groups had closed and moved elsewhere because of it.

The inane obsession with numbers has the potential to drive you to distraction, so don’t let it worry you. If the kids are interested enough they will come and stay.

If you apply a strong filter, some of what Teflon says there is sensible. Note I said some.


Perhaps Dave can find a module for the forums that will do it for us


Sorry but wifi/internet access is absolutely necessary, unless you want to be doing all the admin at home.

The hiring cost will be uppermost in the bean counters mind and if you don’t have some facilities such as toilets and kitchen, it will be sad existence.

Storage is imperative, unless you do what I had to and basically lose the garage.

If like me you found out the location was causing problems recruiting you are on a hiding to nothing.

The obsession with numbers was one of the reasons I had to give it the heave ho. Wing were putting all sorts of pressure on and not really knowing the area I didn’t have any clues as to where to relocate to. This was 23 years ago so when we had all the things missing to today

I was actually supporting some of what you said.

Thanks for all the help guys, really appreciated! Please keep sending in your contributions they’re really helpful!

Quick question though, what’re


abbreviations for?

RFCA is the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, RA may(?) be Rent Act

RA = RIsk Assessment, you will need a Building & Surrounds one in the RAFAC format even if you hire and the site has it’s own … :roll_eyes:

But isn’t that just the air cadets way?:sob:

Just staple the site’s RA to the ATC form with refer to the attached on the ATC one, in big letters.

Ironically RFCA will probably just want a copy of the owners RA.

A lot of sense has been posted. The RAF tradition, especially if you look at WWII, was to have a Squadron consisting of two flights; you increase personnel and assets to create a third flight, was often merged with another third flight and a new Squadron was born.

Of course that was determined by the need for expansion (there was war on you know) So I always believed that the ATC followed that example. Essentially a DF would be created, and be parented by a Squadron which also meant that the Civcom covered the DF, until such time as a separate Civilian Committee was formed.

Without that move a separate Charity for the new Squadron cannot exist, with only one Committee the Law does not recognise a separate charity.

Wilf_san says he achieved establishing a new Squadron eventually in 2011; I and others would be interested to know then whether this is supported by a Registered or Excepted Charity, because Charity Law appeared to disallow Excepted status from 31/1/2009, which is why HQAC guidance clearly states that an exception certificate is not now issued - it would be against the Law to

The will to establish a new ATC squadron, is about tapping into new areas of recruitment, but also help minimise parents transport input. There are some who might see the ATC merely as a baby sitting service, but we all know the potential on offer given the resources.

I am not sure what guides the Brass Hats, but the local team have the day to day contact and can relate to the community. It is then a bit disturbing when you find Brass Hats (including some members of the selfie brigade) who believe they should be involved and able to claim all the credit for local success.

Maybe success might happen on their watch, but why should ego place themselves above the people on the ground. I have seen this in action and it really pulls no favours for the Cadets unless you have some outstanding athletics guys who might help Wing elevate their status. So all I am saying is be prepared to have any idea hijacked, or that whilst rules are rules, they can become so flexible so as to throw up any number obstacles, to the simple premise of enabling Cadets enjoy the experience.