Saddleworth Air Cadets squadron saved from closure but with conditions

SADDLEWORTH Air Cadets are celebrating a reprieve from imminent closure but still face a battle to secure their long-term future.

Saddleworth Air Cadets with Cllr Nicola Kirkham

The 2200 (Saddleworth) Detached Flight was due to disband on July 31, 2018 because of financial constraints and a volunteer shortage.

But following a meeting in Uppermill on Monday, June 11, attended by Wing Commander Dave Archibald, North Regional Commander Mark Leeming OBE plus group leaders and parents, the youngsters have been thrown a two-year lifeline.

However, in that time the squadron must double in size to 40 cadets while also recruiting a number of Cadet Forces Adult Volunteers.

The news has been announced in a statement from the 2200 DF which says: “In May 2018, the future of 2200 (Saddleworth) Detached Flight was in question.

“Cadets and parents were told that from July 31 this year, the Unit would be disbanding with cadets being given the option of moving to one of the other three local squadrons: 2200 Oldham Sqn, 247 Ashton Sqn, and 1855 Royton Sqn.

“Despite the news they were given, the cadets did as they do best, putting in sterling performances at competitions, public events and in their projects. As of Monday, June 11 things have now changed.

“The Unit has been given the opportunity to carry on parading. To try and resolve its current staff shortage and to reach squadron status this must occur within two years.

“In order for this to happen we must recruit a number of Cadet Forces Adult Volunteers in the immediate term, initially in the form of Civilian Instructors but with uniformed positions being available in time, in the form of either Royal Air Force Air Cadet Commissioned Officers or Senior Non Commissioned Officers.

“The organisation will provide an initial training package and welcomes skills from a diverse background with a minimum age of 20 to join in a volunteer role.

“We are also required to double our current cadet numbers from 20 to 40 and to retain this number for a period of time.

“The minimum age for joining is 12 years old as a Year 8 secondary school student.

“The organisation offers young people fantastic opportunities in a wide range of activities, such as UK and oversees camps on RAF stations, leadership and teamworking development, inter squadron sports competitions, aviation training and a whole host of other chances.

“Should you wish to find out more information of what the organisation can offer either a potential volunteer or cadet then please contact Sgt Howard or CI Clowes through the Facebook page (Saddleworth Air Cadets) or via e-mail at oc.2200df@aircadets.orgor

“We will be happy to give as much help and information as possible.

“The Cadets still have a busy diary ahead of them with many exciting activities and events coming up, the list of which will now no doubt expand.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their enduring support over time and we look forward to seeing you all soon.”

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