THE NEWPORT Sea Cadets had their call for help answered by ‘kind’ volunteers after their headquarter was devastated by flood damage last Christmas.

The day before Christmas Eve last year brought heartbreak for the charity as 18 inches of floodwater poured into their headquarters on Riverbank Ave, undoing recent renovations to the building overnight.

Uniforms, office equipment, kitchen amenities and a great deal of the training and sporting equipment were ruined, leaving the facility just off the newly built Riverbank Avenue unable to open and in need of significant work.

When trustees from Newport Sea Cadets put out a call for help, staff at the IPO jumped at the chance to offer their assistance, initially offering to donate some surplus chairs and desks.

But, when staff members learned the full extent of the damage, they wanted to help get the building open again and help restore a degree of normality for the cadets – aged from 10 to 18.

South Wales Argus: The aftermath of the flooding. The aftermath of the flooding.

South Wales Argus: Volunteers from IPO painting Volunteers from IPO painting

It was then all hands of deck as a squad of volunteers grabbed paint brushes and donned their overalls, helping with a full repaint of the building’s exterior.

With the weather on their side, the team managed to get the whole job done during just one day in September.

Newport Sea Cadets group secretary and treasurer Ann Bowen said: “We acquired the building in 1953 and trace our history back to 1900, making us one of the oldest – if not the very oldest – sea cadet units in the country.

“Being run entirely by volunteers, we are totally reliant on our own fundraising to cover the costs of maintaining our building and purchasing equipment for the cadets.

“It was an enormous effort in the first place to secure the funding we need to carry out our renovations.

“When we suffered such dreadful damage and losses in the flood, we feared our insurance would never cover all of it.

“It just couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“When the IPO first got in touch with the kind offer to donate some old office equipment we were naturally delighted.

“But they’ve done so much further than this, and I cannot begin to thank the volunteers from the IPO enough – their efforts have been truly amazing.

“This work has really transformed the way our building looks, so it’s something we can take pride in again.”

South Wales Argus: Before the new lick of paint Before the new lick of paint


South Wales Argus: After the new lick of paint After the new lick of paint

Previous volunteering projects by IPO staff have seen them carry out litter-picks in and around Newport, helping with conservation work in the Brecon Beacons, and doing work to support the Prince’s Trust.

IPO staff member Julia Appleby, who volunteered on the project, said: “I am proud to have given something back to the local community and so pleased that I had the chance to do this through my job.

“We’re all very grateful to Ann and the team at Newport Sea Cadets for keeping us stocked up with cups of tea – I’m pretty sure that helped us manage to smash painting the whole building in one day!

“I’ll definitely be looking for other opportunities to volunteer through work in the future and will encourage my colleagues to do the same.”

IPO chief executive Tim Moss said: “This is a great example of a project that will make a real difference to wellbeing within the community.

“Encouraging our people to get involved in projects such as this one and ‘give something back’ is a big part of helping make the IPO a brilliant place to work.

“I am thrilled to see volunteers from the IPO making such a positive impact, and I’d like to congratulate all our people who came to the aid of Newport Sea Cadets at a time of need.”