Berwick Cadets ticking off equipment wish list thanks to Newcastle Building Society grant support

Release Date: 03 May 2018

Members of a Northumberland cadet group will be getting out and about more often over the summer after winning funding for new equipment through the local branch of Newcastle Building Society.

The 1016 (Berwick Squadron) Air Training Corps offers a wide range of activities and opportunities to young people aged between 12 and 20 years old, and draws its 25 regular members from both sides of the border.

While its activities include Services-related tasks such as drill practice, parades and aeronautics, the Corps also offers other opportunities ranging from model making, radio communication and the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards scheme through to swimming, athletics and cross-country.

The cadets carry out regular fundraising drives to meet the ATC's running costs, such as supermarket bag packs, sponsored walks and coffee mornings.

After being nominated by Moira Morton, a customer at Newcastle Building Society's Hide Hill branch in Berwick and the ATC's longstanding civilian secretary, a £1,500 grant has been given by the Society to allow for the purchase of new tents, camping stoves, backpacks, sleeping bags, radio cases and waterproof clothing.

The funding has been provided by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which has been set up to provide grants to charities and community groups that are located in or around the communities served by the Society's branch network, and put forward for support by its customers.

Originally founded in 1941, Berwick Air Training Corps meets every Monday and Wednesday evening at the Combined Cadet Forces Centre on Ravensdowne in the town.

A number of Berwick cadets have gone on to join the services, while others have won representative honours for inter-cadet sporting competitions at a regional and national level.  

Susan Gilies, officer commanding at the Berwick Air Training Corps, says: “We try to offer our cadets the widest possible range of activities which not only help those that want to go on into the services to prepare for taking that route, but which also enable everyone to develop new skills and have a go at new things that they've not previously considered or had the chance to try.

"Some of our cadets' families can't always afford to provide the sort of equipment they need for outdoor activities, so having waterproof jackets, trousers and backpacks means we can ensure everyone is properly equipped to play a full part in them.

"The cadets do a lot of fundraising work to help us meet the costs of keeping everything going, but we're always looking for ways of bringing in extra income from other sources and the support we've received from Newcastle Building Society will make a big difference to what we do this summer and beyond."

Moira Morton adds: "Our cadets get the chance to try lots of new experiences, which can help give them the confidence to go on and realise their potential later in life.

"Many of them are currently working towards Duke Of Edinburgh Awards, and this grant means they will all have access to the equipment they need to achieve their goals."

Since its launch in 2016, the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund has contributed £142,000 in grants to projects across the Society's North East and Cumbria heartland, and is so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 77,000 people.

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. Grant applications for a maximum of £3,000 can be made in any Society branch or via the website by customers who wish to support their local communities.

Siobhan Younger, manager at Newcastle Building Society's Berwick branch, says: “Berwick Air Training Corps not only gives local young people the chance to try all sorts of activities that might otherwise be out of their reach, but also helps them develop skills and character traits that will serve them well through their lives.

“Supporting our communities is core to what we do, and we're proud to be backing such a fantastic local organisation."