Before getting into financial journalism and blogging, I worked in the charity sector. Charity work has been a big part of my life since I was a child, with my whole family being very involved in certain charitable organisations.
I’m a big believer in that the only way you can gain genuine happiness, is by helping others. It sort of hit me last week, that actually, I have a pretty decent following. I’m getting close to 100,000 views a month on my blog and plenty on social media – so thought I would write about some small charities that could do with a bit of promotion.
I’ll try and do this every week, but of course – it’s just me and sometimes I’ll have deadlines and other things on, but will do what I can. If you have a charity you’d like to suggest, please comment below or email me [email protected] and I’ll add it to the list.
The first charity I wanted to promote is my favourite because it was so important in my life. My grandmother and father dedicated decades of service to the Sea Cadets and my sister and I spent the best time of our lives there.
When I was a cadet, I learned how to sail – for free. I learned how to row – for free. I learned how to kayak for free. I learned how power boat for free. I also got qualifications and would compete in competitions all over the country.
Seriously, look up how much private sailing lessons are – if you have a child, I couldn’t recommend Sea Cadets enough.
My sister got to meet the Queen. We met Prince Andrew a handful of times when he came to our unit. My sister and I were even the Queen’s Guard when Prince William and Harry came to Swansea on a visit (their skin was incredible). Being in the Sea Cadets gives you opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise.
For £15, we’d go on trips too (Of course, it has been a while since I was there, so the price has probably gone up). But I’d go to HMS Raleigh in Plymouth a couple of times a year for £15 for a week to learn different aspects of being in the Navy and to get qualifications that got me ahead of the pack when applying for jobs after university.
We’d do the assault course naval recruits would do, as well as firefighting and damage control which is where you’d be put in a sinking ship simulation. These are cherished memories (oh, and there were discos where you’d meet boys too).
And that’s it. It gives kids – not rich kids (and often kids who are looking for a bit of discipline) a fun place, that is educational and gets them off the streets. The Sea Cadets make you a better person.
I get a bit tearful every time I walk down the river in Putney and see all the posh boat houses for Oxford University etc and expensive private rowing clubs lined up. And just at the end, a lot shabbier than the others – with equipment that isn’t nearly as expensive – is a Sea Cadet Hut. And I think it’s amazing. If your child dreams of doing something that only usually rich people have access to – like rowing, the Sea Cadets give you access. It’s an amazing organisation and I’m so proud I was involved.
If your child dreams of doing something that only usually rich people have access to – like rowing, the Sea Cadets give you access. It’s an amazing organisation and I’m so proud I was involved.
It’s a place children go willingly in their spare time and learn what responsibility, duty and pride is.
There was a time I thought I was going to join the Navy (as a Chaplain or maybe a musician), and it gave many others direction and a career in the military.
How to get involved with the Sea Cadets
You could literally volunteer your time and join in – there is a load of positions and you won’t regret it. Don’t think that if you’re not by the sea, that there isn’t one by you – there probably is.
You can also donate money to keep the buildings open, subsidise trips, uniform etc.
It’s an incredibly worthy charity that does so much for the children within it, but also the community around it (for example, we would pack bags in supermarkets fundraising for the Poppy Appeal on weekends).
Were you ever in the Sea Cadets? Let me know in the comments.