Celebrating anniversary of successful cadet scheme

Compassion in Action’s (CIA) Community Cadets have delivered a presentation to senior council leaders to mark the one-year anniversary of the scheme.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 9:48 am
PC Andy Parkinson and Lisa Speers with Compassion in Actions Community Cadets
PC Andy Parkinson and Lisa Speers with Compassion in Actions Community Cadets

Young people aged eight to 15 addressed managers from Wigan Council’s children’s services at the charity’s headquarters on Leigh Road.

The cadets shared their personal highlights – including visits to GMP’s mounted police unit, Greater Manchester Fire Rescue Service, Bolton Mountain Rescue and Regency Glass.

Praising the children and their efforts, Mike Chew, director of community services for Start Well, said: “It is brilliant to hear about your experiences, which have helped me see what an amazingly worthwhile scheme this is. Public speaking is not easy, but you nailed it. “

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“You have given us a lot to think about in terms of how we can provide more opportunities to young people in Leigh.”

Mother-of-three Lisa Speers, 34, from Westleigh, shared her own story.

She initially attended cadets to support her son Mark, 10, but she enjoyed it so much she stayed on as a volunteer.

Lisa explained: “My own confidence started to grow to the point where I now have a job at St John’s Primary School as a dinnertime assistant,

“This would not have happened if I had not been coming to cadets. I never saw anyone as I was a carer for family members and never did anything for me. I love this group; it’s like a family. It shows our children this borough can be your future and you don’t have to move away to make your life great.”

Lisa’s son Mark added: “I am proud of my mum, she has got her confidence back. She did music at college and used to go on stage and perform.

“I definitely believe in her that she could do that again.”

Youth community worker Paula Richmond has been seconded to the scheme by the council as part of The Deal.

She helps to recruit the cadets, supports the volunteers and assists with the planning of the sessions.

She said: “Although it’s fun, the scheme is structured.

“We have been making the children aware of who Leigh’s decision-makers are and discussing issues that will affect them as adults.

“It has been fantastic to watch the young people and volunteers grow in confidence and develop.”

PC Andy Parkinson was also in attendance to support the youngsters, who enjoyed a special buffet provided by CIA’s catering team.

The scheme is backed by GMP, MP Jo Platt and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who will be presenting the cadets with their certificates next month.

CIA Community Cadets meet at the charity’s Patrick House headquarters every Monday from 6pm to 8pm.

For enquiries and more details about the scheme, telephone 01942 418830.