The Shanly Foundation has granted Reading Sea Cadets a donation of £6,000 to fix the roof of the large, purpose-built unit called Training Ship, Jervis Bay at Brock Barracks, Reading. The grant meant that the £86,000 target was met a year earlier than predicted and the new unit is now operational.
Reading Sea Cadets provides young people from 10-18 years old with life skills of teamwork, leadership, self-respect and social responsibility. They offer cadets a wide-ranging training programme with a nautical focus, which helps them gain new skills and accredited qualifications. Training includes seamanship, mechanical engineering, communications, map reading, rope work, parade drill and first aid.
After their training centre was deemed unsafe by the Ministry of Defence nearly five years ago, the cadets have been fundraising to fix the facilities. The original unit consisted of classrooms, a uniform store room, offices, storage facilities, a kitchen and a large indoor parade area. While the Training Ship was out of use, the team had to use half of the gym at the Brock Barracks with equipment stored in a trailer when not in use. Unfortunately, this area was inadequate for the needs of the club and wasn’t fit for purpose.
Andy Mancey, Chair of Reading Sea Cadets, said: “We were absolutely delighted to receive this donation from the Shanly Foundation, which meant we were able to start work on fixing the roof on TS Jervis Bay.
“It’s going to make all the difference to our cadets, volunteer instructors and parents to get back to the unit, which is a superb facility. Many of us have never used it so we are really looking forward to this new chapter in the sea cadet experience in Reading.”
Currently, there are around 40 cadets and 15 staff and volunteers. Up to now, the Reading Sea Cadets have been unable to accommodate more members due to the lack of facilities. The new building will mean that up to 100 cadets and 25 staff can be recruited.
Due to the unique location near the Thames and the design of the unit, it is the primary place for cadets from around the southern region to carry out training weekends, competitions and ceremonials. The Reading Sea Cadets will be able to return to hosting these events at the training centre so many other hundreds of young people from the wider area will benefit.
Tamra Booth, trustee of the Shanly Foundation, comments: “We’re incredibly proud that our donation has helped the cadets have access to the facilities that they require and we hope that it will allow more cadets to join the team at TS Jervis Bay.”
Reading Sea Cadets are still fundraising for another £15,000 for new rowing boats and to replace an ageing canoe.
To find out more about the Reading Sea Cadets or to donate visit sea-cadets.org/reading