Rallying cry to businesses to support young people’s activity centre

A CONSTRUCTION company with a strong social conscience is inviting businesses to join forces in a can-do collaboration to support a young people’s activity centre.

Evolution, which creates better places for people to live across the North-West, is donating its time free of charge to refurbish a base for Blackpool Sea Cadets.

The firm is also putting a shout-out to other companies across Blackpool to see if they can also donate their time and skills to help deliver the project for the youngsters.

City Electrical Factors (CEF) is already donating all the electrical equipment for the centre.

Kay Jackson, Chief Petty Officer (CPO) of Blackpool Sea Cadets, (pictured marching at the front of the cadets) said the support from Evolution has been amazing and will make a real and positive difference.

When the work is done, the cadets will have a base fit for their modern-day activities, including new showers and toilets, with full disabled access.

Evolution Managing Director JJ Fitzgerald said: “Building thriving communities is at the core of everything we do at Evolution and we are pleased to be able to donate our time and expertise to help create opportunities for young people in the North-West.

“With our head office being in Blackpool this is an ideal opportunity to help young people on our doorstep in a project which aligns with our ethos.

“Being involved in the Sea Cadets helps young people build their confidence and self-belief, it shows them what they can achieve, gives them a sense of purpose and instills discipline.

“It’s all part of opening young people’s eyes to possibilities and opportunities, helping them fulifl their potential and be the best they can be.

“This is exactly the type of project we like to support at Evolution and are more than happy to give up our time to help. 

JJ Fitzgerald, Managing Director of Evolution, focuses on having a positive impact on communities across North-West England, including Blackpool where the company is based.

“It’s also one of those opportunities where we could achieve even more as a business community if we join forces and work together.

“If we all do our bit and combine our efforts we can achieve a really powerful outcome for these young people. 

“That’s why we are putting the call out to see if other businesses want to help by donating materials for the project.”

Kay Jackson, Chief Petty Officer (CPO) of Blackpool Sea Cadets, said the support from Evolution has been amazing and will make a real and positive difference to young people in the resort with the base long overdue a revamp.

Kay said: “The toilets we have at the base were built before I joined the Sea Cadets when I was 13. I am 42 now! This work will help bring us into the modern era.

“It’s really important that young people have a safe haven like this to come to. It’s an environment where they learn how to be responsible adults, we give them life skills and a work ethic, help them learn how to be part of a team and also how to be a leader. We have had so many cadets go on to achieve wonderful things.”

The group has 45 cadet members, aged 10-18, from an area stretching from South Shore to Thornton and over Wyre, and 15 adult volunteers of all ages. They meet every Tuesday and Friday all year round, except for two weeks at Christmas.

“It’s vital in 2023 for young people to have a place like this. During Covid, children suffered with the social side of losing that contact. We kept going with Zoom meetings and played quizzes, and gave them safe online spaces to chat to each other, but now we are meeting up face to face again, we really need the base to be upgraded.

Blackpool Sea Cadets in festive mood ahead of their base being revamped thanks to the generosity of local businesses.

“One cadet didn’t stay with us because we didn’t have single-sex toilets. The toilets are not disabled-access friendly either. We would never want someone’s mobility, or how they identify, to restrict them from attending Sea Cadets and miss out on all the amazing opportunities. It’s going to make a massive difference to the Cadets to be able to have that privacy and modern facilities.

“A massive thank you to Evolution. We are so grateful for their help. I know how hard things are at the moment for everyone, so any other businesses who can help, we would really appreciate it.

“We charge the children £15 a month for membership – it does not even cover the cost of the heating and lights – but we are not willing to put the price up as we don’t ever want money to be an issue or a reason for a young person not to attend. 

“We rely on the generosity of businesses and the community and the Cadets and staff would appreciate any help so much.”

The project equipment wish-list which businesses might be able to help with includes: portable toilets with hot wash facilities, four bathroom suites (WCs, basin and pedestals) with two including shower trays, curtains and showers, copper pipework and fittings, plasterboards, multi-finish, skim beads and other plastering materials; paint, undercoat, top coat, brushes, rollers, masking tape, four internal doors and casings, timber for building partitions, skip hire, a welfare facility and some labour, including a multi-skilled tradesperson.

Anyone interested in donating materials or time and expertise and joining forces with Evolution to help revamp the Blackpool Sea Cadets base is asked to contact jess.corbett@evolution-ltd.co.uk

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