THE prospect of a well-regarded Easter Ross Air Training Corps squadron being grounded because of a lack of back-up support has sparked an SOS.
The appeal centres on the 379 (County of Ross) squadron in Alness, a unit which has a distinguished record across a variety of activities and competitions it has participated in.
The unit is in "desperate need" of volunteers for its civilian committee – vital to its day to day to operation.
Flying Officer David Anderson, who is commanding officer of the 379 (County of Ross) group is now on the lookout for help to secure the future of the unit.
He said: "None of the activities our cadets undertake would be possible without our 15,000 adult volunteers and Civilian Committee members. Using their life skills, experience and professionalism, they ensure our training is second to none.
"The ATC squadrons are run by uniformed officers supported by uniformed senior non-commissioned officers and civilian instructors. All are volunteers, who willingly give their time and skills to encourage air-minded young people to become good citizens."
Squadrons vary in size from 20 cadets to over 100. There are nearly 1000 units across the country offering air cadet opportunities.
The RAF Air Cadets, a UK-wide cadet force made up from the Air Training Corps and the Combined Cadet Force (RAF), helps around 41,000 air cadets to develop a practical interest in flying and learn skills. The RAF Air Cadets is open to both young men and women, aged between 12 and 17. Once enrolled, they can remain a cadet until the age of 19.
Adults can volunteer from the age of 20.
Squadrons also require civilian committee support to look after welfare and fundraising issues. Whilst some activities are sponsored and financed by the Ministry of Defence, others are not, making raising funds locally an important issue in helping the cadets achieve their dreams.
Flying Officer Anderson said: "The squadron based in Alness is in desperate need of help as the unit’s civilian committee has in effect collapsed with only a couple of people left. Without new members there is a real risk that the committee will fold and if this occurs then the squadron can no longer function and may have to close.
"By devoting just a few hours every couple of months as a member of the squadron civilian committee you will be involved in raising, controlling and accounting for non-public funds and giving advice and direction to the commanding officer on welfare issues for cadets and staff. You will also be providing a means of ensuring that the squadron’s views are properly represented at higher levels and fostering the profile of the unit in the local community."
To find out more, see #whatwedo on 379 (County of Ross) Squadron or Highland Wing’s Facebook page.
Anyone who thinks they might be interested in joining the committee team, or who wants to find out more, is asked to contact the commanding officer of the squadron, Flying Officer Dave Anderson RAF Air Cadets, via email at email@example.com