A new Cadet Centre for the Army and Air Cadets in Spen Valley has been officially opened, providing a much improved training environment for the cadets and paving the way for an expanded cadet presence in the area.
Officially opened by the Mayor of Kirklees, Councillor David Ridgway, at a ceremony on Wednesday 17th October, the opening saw a number of dignitaries from the Army Cadet Force (ACF), Air Training Corps (ATC) and the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) – which designed and project managed the new building – being shown around the new Centre by the cadets.
The Spen Valley Army Cadets and 2490 (Spen Valley) Squadron of Air Cadets both share the premises but had long outgrown the previous 40-year old building, which was never designed to house so many. The new brick-built centre is capable of comfortably housing the existing 55 cadets from both detachments, while allowing for further expansion for both Army and Air Cadets in the future.
Of the new Centre, Spen Valley Army Cadet Corporal James Byrne from Cleckheaton, 16, and who attends Mirfield Free Grammar Sixth Form College, said: “It’s so good to be back home at our detachment again, and it looks fantastic! The classrooms, the drill hall, the modern equipment are all superb, and is just what we needed. I’ve loved being in cadets over the last four and a half years and have been places and done things that very few people my age get the chance to, but having this new centre to come to twice a week has made everything even better.”
Spen Valley Air Cadet Fergus Eakin, 16, who goes to Heckmonwike Grammar School, added: “We’re so thrilled to have this new building to train in – all of the new facilities are fantastic! Before it was always a little cramped and we couldn’t do as many things as often as we’d like, but now we’ve got much more room for activities we previously couldn’t do. Everything is perfect – we love it!”
Featuring a much larger drill hall, which allows cadets to parade properly inside, plus additional classrooms and offices, the new centre enables the cadets to experience a much fuller range of activities and training. This includes a Radio Room, in addition to rooms for computer equipment plus dedicated areas for project work
Captain Ian Robinson, Chairman of the RFCA in Yorkshire and The Humber, said: “We’re thrilled to have been able to provide such a superb new facility for the cadets in Spen Valley. I’m confident they will now thrive and flourish even more that they did before. Under the talented and watchful eyes of both detachment commanders, and their teams of adult instructors, all of whom give their time so tirelessly and selflessly, the cadets at Spen Valley have a bright future to look forward to.”
The construction project was completed by the RFCA in only six months, from demolition of the old building to the keys of the new Centre being handed over. The contractor which undertook all the construction work was John Martin Hoyes Construction.
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