Sunday, 21 July 2013

Best in Barnet - Focus on the Training Ship Broadsword Sea Cadet Corps

About a month ago, I got chatting to a group from TS Broadsword Sea Training corps at a meeting of Barnet Council Cabinet. They were mistakenly under the impression that the future of the Welsh Harp was being discussed. As they are based onsite, they wanted to make their voices heard. As I'd checked the agenda and knew that no such discussion was taking place, I was determined to ensure that their trip wasn't wasted. Although I may not agree with him about One Barnet, I have always found the Deputy Leader of the Council, Daniel Thomas to be a reasonable chap and so during the break I introduced the group to him and suggested that a dialog was set up to try and resolve an issue about access to the waterfront at the Welsh Harp for the group. As I expected, Councillor Thomas was amenable to the idea.

I subsequently received an email thanking me for my efforts and asking me to visit. One of the missions of this blog is to promote community organisations and I already know of the great work done by the Sea Cadets and the Sea Training Corps. I duly took up the offer and made my way to their base just off Cool Oak Lane on the Welsh Harp. I was greeted by the CO, Commander G. Beck MBE. For the next hour I was given a guided tour of the building and told how it was built entirely by volunteers. In fact most of the materials were recovered from skips or donated. Walls would go up 100 bricks at a time as funds trickled in.

The are three age groups. Sea Pirates ar 7-9, Juniors are 9-11 and Cadets are 12-19. The organisation is an independent body, founded in 1942. Each year, the organisation provides a Mayors Cadet, who assists at various civic functions. The group was adopted by the London Borough of Barnet in 2003. The organisation is fully inclusive, welcoming people from all communities and all abilities. I spoke to one cadet, who requires a wheelchair, who explained how the Cadets had changed his life and he is on a mission to set up his own "wheelchair" unit. The Unit also boasts a band, which I had the pleasure of watching rehearse. The group sets high standards, it is uniformed and members are expected to attend. There is no upper limit on age.

The organisation are seeking funds to install a wheelchair lift, to ensure that the full facilities are available to all members.

And what about the activities? The members have a full program. As pictures speak louder than words, here are a few
Sea Pirates on parade

Sea Pirates on the climbing wall

The Band on the march

"Its about getting our and having fun"

It has its highs and lows !

On the Water activities

Fencing for all

It can be character building !

And you might get wet !

The Band practice

They say the devil makes work for idle hands. We hear so much negative press about young people, but I was highly impressed with everything I saw at TS Broadsword. The young people were polite and friendly and a credit to the unit and their parent.

Anyone wishing to join or find out more information, should email or check the website for more details. As I mentioned earlier, they are also raising funds to improve access for members who use wheelchairs and have other issues with mobility. Please consider a donation

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