Army Cadets from Bootle are moving home to join other youth organisations and community groups at Brunswick Youth and Community Centre on Marsh Lane.
Bootle Detachment Merseyside Army Cadet Force are leaving their older facilities at the invitation of the ‘Brunny’, where they’ll enjoy brand new facilities including an indoor football pitch, sports equipment, a garden and outdoor recreation area.
The Army Cadets join other groups currently based at the centre, including: the Jamie Carragher Academy, working with 16-19-year-olds to towards BTEC level qualifications in sport; a Kids’ Club for local youngsters aged 6-11; a Youth Club for 11-19-year-olds; and, Merseyside Youth Association’s Talent Match programme. The centre also runs an outreach facility to go out and engage with local young people who don’t come into the centre, and hosts Veterans in Sefton, a charity for former service personnel, who hold a NAAFI break at the centre every week.
Brunswick Youth and Community Centre was originally established in 1947, founded by Tim Marshall who had been a Prisoner of War during the Second World War in a camp called Oflag 79 near Brunswick in Germany. The camp was specifically for Allied officers. The British officers who came together in the camp talked about the desperation and deprivation in many of Britain’s inner cities, and, despite their own circumstances as prisoners, they decided to undertake a fundraising campaign in the camp. They raised a number of ‘IOUs’ to set up ‘Brunswick Boys Clubs’ on their return home.
They kept their word, and in 1947 the Brunswick Youth Centre was founded in Liverpool along with other clubs in London and Glasgow, all still operational today.
Bootle Detachment Merseyside Army Cadets currently has 19 cadets with three Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, and was until recently based at Waverly Street, Bootle. The Army Cadets offer young people the opportunity to gain skills, experiences and confidence through activities which wouldn’t normally be available for them such as Fieldcraft, First Aid and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Some of the activities have a military theme, others have more of a community focus but all inspire young people to challenge their limits, become more independent and able to step up to any challenge.
The move was facilitated by Merseyside-based company the Sovini Group, who last year were awarded the Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award for their work in support of the Armed Forces Community. The Sovini Group have undertaken building work at the centre including the completion of administration offices for the Army Cadet Detachment, and also provide support to Veterans in Sefton.
On 21 April 2017, all of the Brunswick’s tenants will come together to celebrate the centre’s 70th anniversary.
Keith Lloyd, who manages Brunswick Youth and Community Centre, said: “We’ve been working to develop our services and make them more inclusive of the wider Armed Forces Family, and we were recently awarded the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Bronze Award. Through local Army Reserve unit 156 Regiment RLC we made contact with Merseyside Army Cadets Bootle detachment, and were keen to offer them use of our facilities.
“I’m delighted that the detachment will be based here from 1 April – it’s the continuation of a legacy for us, looking back at how the club was founded through the Armed Forces and giving something back to local young people. We’ve got such strong links now, with young Army Cadets, serving Army Reservists with 156 Regiment RLC and former service men and women through Veterans in Sefton.”
Sergeant Major Instructor Jennifer Carmichael, Detachment Commander Bootle Army Cadets, said: “The move to the Brunswick Centre is a much needed change. It will re-forge the relationship between the local community and Bootle Army Cadets, and cement a link that was in place for many years previously.
“The Detachment will now be based in a location well known locally for being a youth service hub, and the cadets will be around other young people from the area in a modern facility. It’s a great move and can only lead to a more positive future for the Detachment.”
For more information about Merseyside ACF and how you can get involved, either as a Cadet or as a Cadet Forces Adult Instructor, visit https://armycadets.com/county/merseyside-acf/