Harpenden St John Ambulance cadet unit faces closure threat

A CADET unit is on the verge of closure unless a new youth leader can be fund.

The St John Ambulance Harpenden Cadets division has been run by Emma Woodward for the past five years and has grown in strength from just two cadets to 18.

But Emma is having to step down because of work commitments and unless a new leader is found, the division could close.

During National Volunteers Week last month, it was reported that many local organisations were crying out for adult volunteers to get involved with their youth groups and St John Ambulance – the third biggest youth organisation in the county – is no exception.

Mary King, county commissioner (youth) for St John Ambulance Herts, said: “It seems that many people are being put off becoming youth leaders due to the paperwork and checks involved but we are urging people to look past these and see how rewarding working with young people can be.

“Cadets offer the chance for young people to get involved with their local communities, to learn important life skills such as first aid, communication, leadership and teamwork and to socialise with other young people.

“It gives them a chance to make new friends and to develop into caring and confident individuals. Their new-found skills can be an asset to any CV, not to mention the fact that being a cadet equips young people with the ability to save lives.”

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Emma had been actively involved with both the Harpenden adult and cadet divisions for a long time and found running the latter to be very good experience.

She said: “Watching the cadets develop within both their cadet and personal lives has been a real privilege and seeing the cadets go out on a public duty to give first aid alongside adult members fills me with pride.”

The current cadets are desperate for someone to step forward and lead them as well as grow the group.

Harpenden cadet member, Georgia Wilding, 17, of Tallents Crescent, Harpenden, said: “I’ve been going to cadets with my sister since it started and I’ve met so many new people and learnt so many vital skills. It would be such a shame if the division had to close when it was growing and other people had to miss out on the all the fun I’ve had.”

Cadet leaders are asked to give at least six hours a month of their time but can do more if they wish. Previous experience is not necessary as training will be given and as a cadet leader you will help young people between the ages of 10 and 18 learn first aid and other subjects in weekly meetings.

All that is required is a passion for youth work and being keen to make a positive difference in the local community. To find out more contact Mary King on 01438 740044 or email mary.king@herts.sja.org.uk