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BRNC Cadets reach out to the community

3 August 2017
Clearing grounds and helping to give buildings a fresh lick of paint were among the jobs undertaken by Officer Cadets (OCs) from Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) as they reached out into the community.

Over the last week teams of OCs have lent their support to the Friends of Dartmouth Community Orchard; Dartmouth Academy;  the Green Town Partnership; Laywell Residential Home in Brixham;  St Luke’s Church in Newton Abbott and the churches curated by the Parish of Dartmouth.

A group of 11 OCs from Ambush Division set to work clearing 60 metres of developing hedgerow of unwanted weeds in the Dartmouth Community Orchard. 

The team cleared undergrowth from around the bases of 60 apple trees and made the entrance to the orchard more accessible by removing overgrowth and cutting back a hedge. An unwanted sycamore stool was also removed from the eastern paddock.  

On arrival we were given a fantastically warm reception by the guests, who you can tell really appreciate the support that the staff give them and the lovely building they’re able to enjoy.

OC Andrew Goudie

OC Mark Simpson said: “It was amazing to see how much you can get done with a dedicated team of motivated individuals.  

“We worked so quickly that we finished everything we were asked to do in one day instead of two.   The outreach program is an important part of our curriculum as it allows us to strengthen the ties between the college and the town, and also between the cadets and the townspeople.”

At Dartmouth Academy a second group of OCs from Ambush Division removed a fence from the grounds and helped kick-start the Academy’s summer painting.  Two Cadets managed to build and paint a children’s playhouse that was donated to the Academy for use in its Early Learning Centre. 

Dartmouth Academy’s Principal, Mrs Tina Graham said: “We were delighted to have Britannia Royal Naval College volunteers at the Academy completing their outreach programme. 

The work they completed over the two days was phenomenal and has made a real difference to staff and pupils.  We are delighted to be building links with the Naval College and it is always a pleasure to have such positive role models in the Academy for our pupils.”

Artful division spent two days at St. Luke’s Church, in Newton Abbott, helping Father Nick Debney by decorating the main hall and landscaping the grounds.  It was two days thoroughly enjoyed by both parties with the OCs trying their hands at many new skills. 

The outdoor group powered through a small forest area, clearing it within the two days while those assigned to painting duties managed to give a coat of paint to four walls and the ceiling in a day. 

The remainder of Artful division assisted the Green Town Partnership by clearing an overgrown area near Warfleet Creek. 

The Cadets made swift work of an overrun wall making life easier for the traffic and, after stopping briefly for ice cream, were able to uncover some long lost Rhododendron bushes. Several Cadets planted their own Camellias and hope to return in the future to see how their efforts have enhanced the area for the locals and tourists alike.

Those not working in Newton Abbott were divided amongst St Clement’s, St George’s and St Saviour’s churches where they cleared memorials and pathways in the churchyards of weeds to improve access to the church hall.  They also gave the kitchen a deep clean.

Finally Astute division had the pleasure of attending Laywell Residential Home in Brixham. 

There the team of 15 worked to give the garden a much needed make-over and painted the front of the building to help brighten up the entrance.  In addition the Cadets spent time sanding and staining the outside furniture

OC Thomas Hillier said:   “Many of the people inside aren’t able to travel far so to make their garden as lovely as possible for them to enjoy is a really good opportunity for us to help out in a simple but meaningful way.”

The work carried out by the OCs was hugely appreciated by all the organisations they helped and they were rewarded with treats wherever they were working. 

At the residential home the OCs were treated to a fantastic lunch and were able to answer questions about their training, while also listening to stories from the past. 

OC Andrew Goudie, who worked at the residential home, said:  “On arrival we were given a fantastically warm reception by the guests, who you can tell really appreciate the support that the staff give them and the lovely building they’re able to enjoy.

“Seeing how happy they are helped motivate us to get as much done as possible.”

Each division is required to undertake a project in the community during their time at BRNC as a way of testing their leadership, organisational, and communication skills outside of the military environment. 

The OCs involved are now just weeks away from completing their training and will this week face the final test of the 30-weeks training – a pass or fail four-day exercise on the River Dart.

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