Helping hands

Cadets are committed to helping others. See how some units around the country support their local communities in different ways

Allies for Pride: winning at being inclusive

Musselburgh Sea Cadets hold up their Pride flag
Musselburgh Sea Cadets strives to make everyone feel included

Proving how welcoming and inclusive Sea Cadets can be, Musselburgh Sea Cadets has won at the Proud Scotland Awards, the LGBTQ+ awards of Scotland that celebrate inspiring people, businesses and organisations that champion diversity and inclusion. 

The unit took first place in the Education category, which recognises an individual or group that has taken action to directly impact and support inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community. The awards state that education is key to removing all forms of discrimination, including homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, bigotry and racism.

“Within Musselburgh Sea Cadets, as within the wider Sea Cadet Corps, we aspire to treat all individuals fairly and equally and give our young people the best start in life. As part of an inclusive youth charity, we aim to ensure that no young person or volunteer receives less favourable treatment, is excluded from benefiting from its services or suffers disadvantage for any reason. It makes us proud that our work is recognised.” 

CO Chief Petty Officer (SCC) Chris Gay

A former cadet said of the nomination, “I joined Musselburgh Sea Cadets in 2015. I was nervous about joining but was welcomed straight away by everyone. In 2017, I came out as gay – this made no difference as I was not treated any differently from anyone else at the unit, I always felt that I was accepted as part of the family. My time at Sea Cadets gave me the confidence I have today, and the confidence to come out to friends and others at school. Being honoured to wear the Sea Cadets uniform will always be something that makes me feel proud.” 

A local Musselburgh resident emailed the unit with this message: “I live close by to the Sea Cadets building. I’ve just seen the Pride flag flying and it made my heart soar! I have the absolute pleasure of seeing it from my bedroom window which will be the most wonderful thing to wake up to. I sometimes feel anxious about being gay in Musselburgh since it’s a smaller town, but seeing that flag makes me feel way more comfortable. It makes me proud of my neighbourhood and proud to be myself. So a million times thank you.” 

Proud Scotland logo

Friends for those in need: supporting a local food bank

cadets volunteering at a food bank
Cadets volunteering at their local foodbank 

The St Vincent de Paul foodbank in Rutherglen recently received a bumper donation from East Kilbride Sea Cadets – and the young people are planning to hold a monthly foodbank collection from now on. 

It all started when the manager of a local charity, Rain or Shine, visited the unit to give a presentation. “The talk really captured the imagination of the cadets,” said CPO (SCC) John Leber, the Commanding Officer of the unit. “They were keen to get involved.”

A number of cadets at the unit who are doing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award have volunteered with Rain or Shine and the local foodbank. 

“I realise now that people can take it for granted that they will have enough to eat.”

Cadet Charlotte, aged 13

Charity superstars: a ray of light for children with cancer

Cadets and volunteers donating Easter eggs
Cadets donated 90 Easter eggs to children being treated for cancer

Back at Easter, Ballymena Sea Cadets joined forces with Glengormley High School army cadets to support  the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity’s (CCUC) campaign to provide Easter eggs to patients being treated by The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. The cadets donated an amazing total of 90 Easter eggs, as well as some treats for the hard-working staff.

The CCUC was formed to support the unit,  the only facility in Northern Ireland used to treat children diagnosed with cancer. 

Ruth Verner, Chairperson of Ballymena Sea Cadets, said: “As a youth organisation, it was important for us to support CCUC’s campaign as they provide such vital work, and like so many charities have seen their fundraising support drastically impacted by the pandemic. We hope that providing a little support over Easter helped bring a smile to the children being treated in the hospital or recovering at home. It’s a small way for us to help.”

“When I received the message asking if any of the cadets would like to donate Easter eggs I thought this was a very thoughtful and kind thing to do as some of the children in the hospital are very sick and were not able to spend quality time with their families at Easter like I was able to.”

Cadet Jake, aged 13

“We were delighted to receive this donation especially after not being able to provide anything to our children over the last two years. Any eggs remaining will be shared with other children throughout the hospital,” said Jacqueline Wilkinson from CCUC.

Environment protectors: The big clean up

Cadets cleaning up the river
Cadets helped to clean up the water used by the unit and local community

Old shoes, mops, loft insulation and plastic bottles. These were among the 120 bags full of rubbish picked up by cadets and other volunteers near Pulteney Bridge in Bath. 

Cadets and volunteers from City of Bath Sea Cadets rolled up their sleeves to clean up their local river, which is close to the unit, as part of this year’s Great British Spring Clean. They teamed up with 10 other volunteer groups, including Avon Fire and Rescue, Canoe Avon and Bath Canoe Club. 

“Our cadets were proud to help in improving our local waterway and use their boating skills to achieve something really important. Not only is the waste harmful to the environment, but it’s also unsightly, especially so near to the prominent tourist spot of the iconic Pulteney Bridge. I’m also very grateful for the efforts of our volunteers, who make such a huge contribution to our community.”

CO Lt (SCC) Tim West RNR

The Great Avon River Pick was held on 26 March, with more than 170 people of all ages working together. Councillor David Wood, cabinet member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “Thank you to all the volunteers who joined forces. It’s a huge success that more than 120 bags of litter were saved from polluting our waterways, posing a danger to wildlife and remaining an eyesore in our beautiful district.” Nationally, a total of 449,406 bags were collected, with 438,147 people taking part.

Photos: Sea Cadets, Getty Images

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