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Sea Cadets' cash crisis

PUBLISHED: 22:00 29 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:36 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Sea Cadets have found their funds are drying up after a move from their site on Ipswich dock could see them forking out around £5,000 in repairs.

IPSWICH Sea Cadets have found their funds are drying up after a move from their site on Ipswich dock could see them forking out around £5,000 in repairs.

Since the cadets' two vessels were moved from just outside the new marina in May, they have been unable to get on board ship because there is no safe access to the boats from the new site.

They have moved from fairly glamorous surroundings where they had put in a parade ground, a flag pole and resurfaced the area giving access to the ship to make way for expansion of the marina.

But their new spot at the dock head resembles more of a building site than anything else and they have only recently had electricity and water installed.

The situation has now turned into a wrangle between the sea cadets management committee and Associated British Port who own the dock, because the cadets feel the port should have done more work on the site.

But the port said that the site is the cadets' responsibility and that they had ample time to get the work done before they moved there.

Committee chairman Roger Hansford claims that all the work they did at the old site is being used by the port but now the cadets have to pay out more money to provide exactly the same facilities that they already had.

He said that although they are in negotiations with the port and things are beginning to get done, it is moving too slowly.

Mr Hansford said: "As a result the cadets have not been able to use the boats since May.

"We now have some very disgruntled cadets and have even lost a few."

He added that by the time all the work had been finished they would have spent around £5,000.

"This is money that we just have not got.

"The port helps us as much as it can but it cannot give us any money."

Petty Officer and Officer in Charge John Downie said the main problem is that there are no guard rails on the pontoon leading to the barge which they call "the lighter ship" and which they treat as their classroom.

He said: "Regulations mean that without the guard rails we cannot let the cadets onto the boat."

Things are slowly getting better, as when they first moved to the site, the cadets had to scramble over house bricks and blocks of concrete just to get to the pontoon.

Now the ground has been levelled and chippings put down ready to be surfaced for a parade ground. But Mr Downie is worried that it may be too little too late as he claims the port knew of the move 18 months ago and the work could have been done during that time.

Robert Smith, ABP's port manager, said the port is not responsible for the work and the cadets must take it on board themselves.

He claims they are doing everything they can to support the cadets and are helping them financially as much as they can.

Mr Smith said: "We like the cadets and we want them to be here and we are being supportive.

"We have arranged some surfacing to go down for them as we are having some more work done at the docks at the moment and asked the workers if they would like to make a donation to the sea cadets.

"We have also provided them with a flag pole – we have been working with them."

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