31 October 2016
Army cadets from Penrith Detachment gave up their entire half term holiday from school in order to work for local charity, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), formerly known as Eden Flood Volunteers, at Skirsgill Depot, Penrith. Cadet Lance Corporal Tegan McGuinness, 14, Lance Corporal Isaac Pitchford, 14, Bailey Wilde, 14 and Alistair Cargill, 13, all decided to help the charity as part of their Cadet in the Community syllabus, as well as their volunteering section working towards their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award.
The cadets worked hard throughout the week completing tasks such as writing use by dates on food tins, painting the toilets in the depot, helping to build furniture donated by local companies, and even helping to deliver furniture to local flood victims. L/Cpl Isaac Pitchford said, “It’s been tough to see people still unable to go home after the floods. Some people were still throwing their things in skips, and we saw the water marks in their houses 9 foot up the walls.” Isaac wanted to help the charity in particular as his father is a fireman in Ullswater and Patterdale and was heavily involved in the flood efforts last year after storm Desmond devastated parts of Cumbria.
L/Cpl Tegan McGuinness said, “We helped in December when the floods hit, distributing emergency supplies from Penrith Fire Station, so it’s been nice to see the other side of that; people getting back into their homes.”
Kerryanne Wilson, CEO of CERT was thrilled that the cadets had given up their week to help organise the depot and support the charity. She commented, “The cadets have worked very hard this week and have been a pleasure to have around. People don’t realise that there’s still a lot going on after the floods.” There were 7745 Cumbrian homes and businesses flooded. 54% of them were uninsured, so CERT offers valuable support with things like new furniture, clothes, food and emergency supplies, as well as offering counselling to flood victims. The staff can even help people to find affordable insurance companies after being flooded.
Bailey Wilde, whose mum is CEO Kerryanne, said, “It’s a really good thing my mum is doing. Some people won’t get back into their homes until next year.” Bailey was covered in paint and said his experiences at the depot had been good work experience for his future. Alistair Cargill also commented, “We’ve had a great time! I’ve really enjoyed the painting. We’ve had a good laugh together while helping people in the community, so it’s been a good week.”
Staff Sergeant Dean Ferguson, Detachment Commander of Penrith Detachment said, “This has been an excellent way for the cadets to get involved in the community and do something a bit different to see another side to volunteering. They’ve shown great commitment to the community.”
Cumbria ACF is always looking for reliable and responsible adults to volunteer as instructors around the County. Search Cumbria Army Cadets for more information or call 01228 516225.