Dundonald Sea Cadets kept afloat thanks to much needed grant from Hope For Youth Northern Ireland

Charitable Sector
November 22, 2017

Dundonald Sea Cadets, a local youth organisation open to young people aged 12 to 18 from diverse backgrounds, has quite literally been kept afloat thanks to a much needed grant from Hope For Youth Northern Ireland, allowing them to purchase a reliable safety boat for the cadets.

Part of the national Sea Cadet Corps which consists of 14,000 cadets across the UK and 10 units across Northern Ireland, Dundonald Sea Cadets is one of many youth-focused organisations to have largely benefitted from Hope For Youth Northern Ireland’s grant scheme.

Sea Cadets is the UK’s biggest maritime uniformed youth charity which began in 1856. Like many other Sea Cadets across the UK, Dundonald Sea Cadets follow the customs and traditions of the Royal Navy and their wide range of adventure activities, mostly involving water, all have a nautical theme. In addition to weekly meetings on Thursdays, there are many weekend and week-long activities throughout the year for members to get involved in including seven National Competitions where local cadets compete against cadets from across the UK.

As an independent charity, Dundonald Sea Cadets largely relies on goodwill from the local community and businesses for financial support. Lacking a reliable safety boat and unable to provide the funds to purchase one, the organisation was losing cadets by having to limit the numbers they could safely allow on the water at one time. The local community rallied together to fundraise for this essential yet expensive piece of equipment but the activity was incredibly slow and time-consuming, taking away from the primary goal of providing opportunities for young people.

Speaking about how the grant from Hope For Youth provided Dundonald Sea Cadets with the crucial funds it needed the Commanding Officer, Hector Wanliss, said, “Hope For Youth Northern Ireland quite literally provided a lifeline for our unit; the grant award was the last bit of funding we needed to be able to buy a safety boat that suited our needs and allowed us to provide reliable safety cover for many years to come.”

In addition to the safety boat purchase, the funding received by Dundonald Sea Cadets from Hope For Youth, which raises money to fund cross-community, youth-oriented programmes through special events including its biennial charity House of Lords v House of Commons Swim and other special events, has also allowed the cadets to participate in various activities including the Mourne Mountain Adventure, Easter Unit Camp in Weymouth and District Summer Camp in Gibraltar. In addition their grant enabled some of the cadets to complete their RYA Sea Survival Certificate and RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Qualification.

Sea Cadet Sophie, aged 16, commented on the impact of the generous grant from Hope For Youth, which provided her with an externally recognized qualification which could be beneficial in future employment. “Without the grant from Hope for Youth I would not have had the same opportunities that the scheme has given me,” said Sophie.  I was able to participate in so many different activities throughout the year and I am especially fortunate to have been able to complete my RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Qualification, as this has opened up a lot of opportunities both in the Cadets and in my future career, making my CV more attractive to a prospective employer.”

Hope For Youth NI has been making a difference to young peoples’ lives for over 40 years. The non-profit organisation raises money to support cross-community projects just like Heart of Belfast that enable young people to work together, gain new skills, and build friendships. The highlight of the organisation’s fundraising calendar is the biennial House of Lords v House of Commons Charity Swim and Gala Dinner, taking place on 23rd November 2017 in London’s Porchester Hall. The event will pit swimmers from teams representing the House of Commons and House of Lords against each other, continuing a friendly rivalry to raise awareness and funds for the great work Hope For Youth does across Northern Ireland.

For more information on Dundonald Sea Cadets visit http://www.sea-cadets.org/Dundonald/home.aspx