No reprieve for Swanage Air Cadets as it merges with Wareham

With its headquarters deemed “past its sell-by date” the decision has been made to combine Swanage Air Cadets with the squadron in Wareham to form a new joint Purbeck Hub.

Flight Lieutenant Mary Brennan, branch officer commanding, said:

“We were very disappointed when our HQ in Swanage was closed. The main reason was that the World War One army hut, where we met, was ‘past its sell-by date’. The cost of repairs, plus the potential re-development of the site, made it uneconomic to maintain the building.”

Air cadets
Swanage Air Cadets

Classroom sessions have been replaced with online lessons in some cases

“I tried to change the decision”

Flight Lieutenant Brennan added:

“Initially, I tried to change the decision, by putting forward reasons for not closing Swanage but did not succeed.

“So, I changed tack and focused on finding ways we could deliver the air cadet experience to cadets who could not regularly make the journey to Wareham.”

This led to the creation of an Air Cadet Hub for Purbeck. The Squadron has been renamed 2185 (Isle of Purbeck) Squadron.

Air cadet hut

The old hut in Swanage dates back to World War One

“Some activities in Swanage”

Covid-19 lockdowns have meant that some of the cadets’ training has already been put on-line. It’s now hoped to continue this so that cadets who may have difficulty with transport to Wareham can join in.

Flight Lieutenant Brennan said:

“There is a general move within Air Cadets to look at creating Hubs to maximise the real estate and the available volunteers. Our aim is to try and organise some activities in Swanage, particularly at weekends, even though we will not have a physical building.”

Flight simulator
Swanage Air Cadets

A cadet tries out a flight simulator

“Expand our community involvement”

The new hub will meet on Monday evenings from 7 pm to 9 pm at the HQ in St Martin’s Lane, Wareham.

Flight Lieutenant Brennan explained the thinking behind the new name:

“It is more inclusive of the towns and villages where the cadets live. It will also give us the opportunity to expand our community involvement.

“Most cadets do not go on to join the RAF, but we can help them to become more involved in the communities where they live.”

Air Cadets headquarters in Wareham
Swanage Air Cadets

The new joint headquarters in Wareham

Cadets have supported events

In the past, cadets in Purbeck have supported events such as the carnivals, folk festival, Rotary fete and Remembrance parades, as well as events at The Mowlem theatre and delivering the Christmas charity post.

Cadet skill of using radios has helped traffic management at events. The volunteering by the cadets helps them achieve Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Young people in school year 8 and above are eligible to become Air Cadets. The current annual subscription is £45, and this covers all activities, including flying and gliding and the issue of a uniform (excepting footwear).

Three air cadets with awards

Cadets receive awards

New meetings start in September

Additional charges are incurred when cadets attend camp and other training courses when food and/or accommodation are provided.

The relaxing of Covid regulations, it is hoped, will enable the squadron to welcome new cadets on Monday 13th September 2021.

Currently the cadets are working on a project to design a new crest for 2185 (Isle of Purbeck) Squadron.

Any ideas for the crest can be emailed to oc.2185@rafac.mod.gov.uk

Or sent to Wareham HQ in St Martin’s Lane, Wareham BH20 4HF.

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