Established in 1942, and home to nearly 100 young people and 10 volunteers, Newburn Sea Cadets has been training and developing young people, aged between 10 and 18, continually in the West End of Newcastle.
Their aim is to provide young people an experience that will help them grow into the person they want to be in a safe and friendly environment.
Through various activities and adventures, they learn teamwork, respect, loyalty, self-confidence, commitment, self-discipline, honesty and how to be the best version of themselves. They offer a range of different activities from sailing, windsurfing and powerboating to rock climbing, camping, and music in addition to a wide range of different qualifications that are transferable.
The core of their program are the twice weekly meetings, augmented by residential weekends in the Unit Headquarters, which was purchased on a long lease and requires continuous improvements to the facilities in order to remain fit for purpose. On this occasion the Unit required the refurbishment of their toilet and shower facilities so as to be in accordance with modern safeguarding and hygiene standards which Northumberland Freemasons were more than happy to assist with a grant of £5000, via the Richard Henry Holmes Masonic Benevolent Fund, which donates around £160,000 annually to local charities and good causes, including food banks, to boost worthwhile and deserving projects throughout Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside..
Early October saw Newburn Sea Cadets invite friends, family, sponsors and distinguished guests to witness the official re-opening of the building, during which the assembled guests participated in a re-dedication ceremony, led by Reverend Neil Heslop of the Church of the Holy Saviour, in the Parish of Sugley, and witnessed the Unit undertaking an inspection by Commander Ed McNaught RD DL, Deputy Lieutenant for Tyne and Wear, drill and a PT routine.
Alfie Simpson MBE, the Chairman of Newburn Sea Cadets, said ‘Todays Re-dedication ceremony marks the completion of a major refurbishment project to provide new toilets, showers and disabled access. It makes the building fit for purpose for many years. In the face of spiralling costs, the support of the Northumberland Freemasons was important in helping is to achieve our goal.’
Lieutenant Kerensa Miller, the Commanding Officer of Newburn Sea Cadets, said
'Having high quality modern facilities is important in helping us to recover our numbers after the disruption of lockdown and the building works. Our members are delighted.’
Victor Spong, the Treasurer of Newburn Sea Cadets, said
’The Sea Cadets is sponsored at national level by the Royal Navy but each Unit has to find its own costs. Raising the £165,000 to complete this project in full was a challenge and we are truly grateful for the wide measure of support we received including the Province of Northumberland.’
Ian Craigs, the head of Northumberland Freemasons, said
'I was very pleased to be asked to attend the Rededication of the headquarters of the Newburn Sea Cadets last Saturday. I was extremely impressed by the Cadets themselves and their obvious enjoyment of the ceremony where they demonstrated impeccable Drill skills. Above all I pay tribute to all of those who give their time voluntarily to run a super organisation. Many thanks for inviting me. The Freemasons of Northumberland were delighted to help'.