What we are all about!
I started with the Sea Cadets in 2004 and I am still enjoying my time in 2020. In my time at this unit I have seen hundreds of lives changed for the better and hundreds of young people go on to be successful in lots of different careers, from teachers to cruise ship captains, the Sea Cadets is a spring board for young people and gives them the best possible head start in life. The charity gives young people the chance to grow and explore activities they perhaps would never do in the standard education system.
I trained as a rowing instructor with the Sea Cadets, at Trafford Sea Cadets we also have 5 other rowing instructors (with 4 more in the pipeline) all dedicated to taking young people afloat each week. The Sea Cadets offers such a varied and large programme from Marine Engineering to Catering, Adventure Training to Music and Band - we are totally inclusive and enjoy membership from all corners of our diverse and buzzing community of people.
There is no doubt our main attraction is the amount of boating we can do; sailing, rowing, powerboating, Paddlesport, windsurfing, raft building, yachting, offshore power and offshore sailing! We are part of the National Sea Cadet organisation but we are a charity in our own right and responsible for our own funds, we receive no funding from the Ministry of Defence or Navy, although we are gifted use of facilities and equipment from time to time.
Based in the heart of the community we are ideally placed to reach out underprivileged young people at risk of gang culture and county lines - and young people who are struggling with mental ill health, loneliness, bullying or young carers who need time to just be children again. We serve the communities of South Manchester (Trafford) in Areas such as Stretford, Old Trafford, Partington, Broadheath, Altrincham, Sale and Wythenshawe although young people from other areas are free to attend. We charge cadets subscriptions on a monthly basis, these are used to pay for the two sites we operate in Altrincham and Stretford. Any additional funds go towards upkeep or the purchasing of training equipment. All adult staff are 100% voluntary and receive no payment for what they do.
The Impact of COVID-19
The charities main source of income is the subs paid by cadets on a monthly basis, With our face to face activities stopping during lockdown and many parents and guardians of cadets finding themselves in financial hardship - many families had to stop paying their subs meaning our income was reduced by almost 88% the sites combined cost circa £1500 per month to keep operating and the cost of keeping these sites open have impacted greatly on charity funds having a long period of low income and lots of money going out without us being able to replace it.
Closed but but still working! (What we have been doing for young people during lockdown)
Just because we had to stop all face to face training - we didn't stop training all together, within one month we trained all of our volunteers on conducting virtual training. and repurposed others to conduct welfare checks and general check ups! We are continuing this until were back to normal! Four night a week our volunteers are training cadets online and getting the boating theory done so when we are back we can give the green light to practical training!
We have also been out and about with our young people taking direct action in their communities helping bring food and treats, and socially distance conversations with older or less abled members of their communities. Flying the flag for their generation often classed as thuggish, snowflakes and lazy. Not on our watch! #WeAreTheFuture
Were now back open (SEPT 2020) but with very large restrictions! AND THIS IS WHERE WE NEED YOUR HELP!
We have been classed as an essential service by the national youth agency and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport - our services are government recognised as being essential for young people, whilst this is humbling - it has led to an unprecedented demand on our services. MORE YOUNG PEOPLE THAN EVER BEFORE are wanting to get out and get active and we simply do not have the boats to say yes to everyone! So to use an old navy saying its all hands on deck to make the service shipshape and ready for the challenges that lie ahead!
How do we know that our project is needed?
Quite simply - 120 young people on the books, 100 regular attendance, and 38 wanting to join on a waiting list, 52 enquiries awaiting reply. The video below shows the kind of people we help to make, Its just amazing.
See the next video and let our young people tell you what they think for themselves!
What happens to the assets you buy when things go back to normal?
We keep using them, we have been established since 1944, we have always been slow at expanding but this has contributed to our resilience and sustainability, from 2000-2010 the average number of cadets stood at 30. In 2012 - 2017 we received major funding to update the building and modernise its facilities, this saw average numbers grow to 80. We now have 100 on average (in attendance) and the next step will be to maintain these numbers and accept a few more, we have procured a second site in Stretford meaning we have so much more capacity for young people, we expect to get numbers to 150 by the end of the year and following current projections 200 by the next boating season in 2020. Our volunteer numbers are growing all the time too, people are taking time out of their busy schedules and family lives to help the young people of our community - Its just such an exciting and amazing organisation to be a part of.
What we are going to do! (the project!)
This project is to purchase 5 slide seat rowing boats as part of our strategy to make our vision a reality, we want to be able to offer young people who could not otherwise afford it, rowing training and experience to keep them fit in a fun way that encompasses adventure training, seeing their communities from the inland waterways whilst getting healthier and fitter with the support of their peers and instructional staff. The project will also assist young people in achieving their British Rowing Qualifications, BTEC Level 1 & 2 Qualifications and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award (Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards) - Physical or Skills sections.
The project will give young people a place to go with their friends 2-3 nights a week and regularly on weekends, it will ensure that young people develop a passion and an interest that no only keeps them fit but builds mental resilience and prepares them for a competitive world, ensuring they remain humble in victory and hopeful in loss, with our annual rowing competitions which allow cadets to race against each other against other units in Manchester, North West Area and the National Organisation.
The project further seeks to help young people with good mental health, getting outside in and away from technology for regular periods giving them time to work and socialise with other people, forging new and lasting relationships with the other members of their community through simple rowing, as well as encouraging an admiration for the natural beauty of the inland waterways and the importance of a clean environment.
COVID-19 Specific Need:
With social distancing likely to be around for some time to come we can no longer make full use of the fixed seat rowing craft the charity currently operates, the boats have two crew instead of four. As lockdown measures are lifted we have an increased demand on our services with us unable to accept young people who want to use our services, we currently have a waiting list of 38 (correct at time of publication) and we provide services to 120 at the moment, these new boats will mean we can increase the number of young people on the rowing programme, increase fitness and health for more young people, get more young people into safe competitive sport if that's what they want to do, Provide a covid-19 secure environment where young people can socialise with social distancing measures in place, learn life skills such as teamwork, sportsmanship and the value of contributing to ones community and give more young people vocational qualifications!
Please help us - no donation is too small.
Sea Cadets Trafford (ALTRINCHAM, SALE AND STRETFORD UNIT) is also proud to support the community we serve in other ways, our young people as part of their volunteering requirement help out lots of local causes from litter picking and cleaning up local green spaces, painting community projects and cleaning up graffiti and vandalised public spaces, playing a really important role in their community.
We also help other charities fundraise - such as the annual poppy appeal for the Royal British Legion:
and MacMillan Cancer Support!
And Help for Hero's!
and again helping the community by putting hundreds of First Aid trained people out there, trained and ready to help should the worst happen!
And with all that.... we also find time to have a laugh, relax and have a good old dance!
Please help us reach even more young people. Please donate some of your hard earned money to our cause and you will be a reason why a young person goes on to be successful in their life, benefiting our community and country!
What one of our ex-cadets thinks about the help we have given her! help us help more and more young people in whatever career they choose! Remember that Sea Cadets isn't a pre-recruitment organisation for the armed forces, we help young people achieve their goals by adopting the same values.
Please help - donate or pledge today.