Saturday morning, off in the freezing cold to the Cumberland Basin in Bristol’s harbour to meet up with local sea cadets and marine cadets. Bristol’s had the cadets for over a century, one of the oldest branches in the country.
I see the cadets make model boats, makeshift shelter frames and watch the marines storm Dock Cottages to rescue a “hostage”. Rations are of the dry biscuit and boil in the bag variety (I remember those from pre microwave days!)…but one of the adult volunteers has real difficulty lighting a fire in the freezing wind. Fortunately bars of chocolate are on hand.
The cadets are another example of the huge variety of volunteer youth work that goes on in Bristol. Many of the volunteers are ex forces and now give up a couple of evenings a week and many weekends to share their skills with boys and girls. Many of the children I talked to were interested in serving in the forces. They all enjoyed being given purposeful activities.
Across Bristol West to Stapleton Road. The new HQ and café of Crisis Ministries is opening. I’m familiar with their work from the Wild Goose café on City Road. They’re now expanding to much bigger premises. They’ve been given about a fifth of the cost of converting an old pub by TV’s “secret millionaire”. She cuts the ribbon with a local user of Crisis’s services. They provide great food and also work with people coping with an addiction or some other crisis in their lives. Again, many thanks to all of the volunteers who donate food, prepare food or give other practical support to the centre.