Sea Cadets on the march toward refurbishment goal

REFURBISHMENT: TS Brilliant, the Sea Cadets' headquarters

TUNBRIDGE Wells Sea Cadets are nearly halfway to their goal of entirely refurbishing their Victorian headquarters, ‘TS Brilliant’, in a move that will increase local Sea Cadet numbers as well as reduce costs and improve accessibility.

The full refurbishment of TS Brilliant requires about £300,000 of investment to increase the size and accessibility of the former church hall in Albion Road, where the cadets have been for 75 years.

However, thanks to ongoing fundraising and a grant of more than £80,000 from the Mark Benevolent Fund last month, funds are nearly halfway there, according to Commanding Officer Matt Vanns.

“We’ve probably got to £120,000-140,000,” he told the Times.

Yet despite the remaining total, the unit is making progress toward its goal, thanks to the seasonal calendar which gets the cadets out of headquarters and on to the water for boating over the summer.

“In summer, we boat at Bewl Water, from May to the end of August – kayaking, sailing, rowing,” said Commander Vanns.

“We’re building in phases, and phase one is pretty much done,” he told the Times.

This phase includes new toilets, a new flat roof and better insulation.

Even weekly band practice has continued, although this was relocated to the Territorial Army Centre in Southborough for two weeks while the headquarters toilets were out of action, he added.

“Phase two funding has started and the £80,000 is a great start,” Commander Vanns explained.

“We are trying to renovate to make it more learner-friendly – and to equip it for another 75 – even 100 – years.”

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