Young people in a seaside community have better opportunities thanks to businesses with a strong social conscience coming together to volunteer to revamp an activity centre.

Construction company Evolution, which creates better places for people to live across the North-West, donated the time of eight members of its team and equipment to install new facilities at Blackpool Sea Cadets base. After putting out a shout-out to other companies across Blackpool to see if they could also donate materials to help deliver the project for the youngsters, they were inundated with offers of help.

The can-do collaboration of seven companies ensured the work to install a new shower and toilet block at the base at Devonshire Road, Bispham, was completed in just three weeks. Thanks to the following companies who supported the initiative and donated a total of £10,500-worth of support, the cadets now have a base fit for their modern-day activities.

  • Evolution - project management, 8 team members’ time, labour, joinery and plumbing sundries;
  • Style Carpets - vinyl flooring;
  • Huws Gray - bathroom suites, doors and joinery items;
  • City Electrical Factors (CEF) - electrical equipment;
  • Travis Perkins - plastering equipment;
  • Jewson - hygienic cladding;
  • Smiths Hire - plant equipment and tools.

Kay Jackson, Chief Petty Officer (CPO) of Blackpool Sea Cadets, said the support from Evolution and the other businesses will make a real and positive difference to young people in Blackpool. She said: “I can’t thank Evolution and all the other businesses enough. They have been amazing.

“The work they have completed has transformed our tired old toilet block into something that is practical and fit for purpose, they have made it so that we can be inclusive to all young people and volunteers who want to join Blackpool Sea Cadets. It’s easy to say you support something.

“But when businesses back it up like this and move heaven and earth to give their time, expertise and materials free of charge to help give young people better life chances, that’s real community action right there.” The cadet group has 45 members, aged 10-18, from an area stretching from South Shore, Blackpool to Over Wyre, and 15 adult volunteers.

Kay (centre of pic) said: “We rely heavily on the generosity of local businesses, the local community, and the cadets and staff really appreciate any help we get. We charge the children £15 a month for membership - it does not even cover the cost of the heating and lights - but we are not willing to put the price up as we never want money to be an issue or a reason for a young person not to attend.”

JJ Fitzgerald, Managing Director of Evolution, said: ““The Sea Cadets help young people build their confidence, self-belief and resilience. 

“It opens young people’s eyes to possibilities and opportunities, helping them fulfil their potential and be the best they can be. This is exactly the type of project we like to support at Evolution. 

“Kay is amazing. We wanted to support her and all the volunteers as well as it’s only by them giving up their time that these young people have the opportunity to enjoy a better start in life.

“We are also grateful to Michelle Walker, project manager of the Fylde Coast Responsible Business Network, for helping spread the word among their members which made a big difference in rallying support.” Ben Reader, Evolution’s Contract Manager, managed the project with support in the planning stages from JJ Fitzgerald and Jess Corbett.

Five members of the Evolution team worked on the site: John Reader, Phil Dutton, Nick Clarke, Matt Sheard, and Nathan Larrier. Ben said: “We are very proud of how we delivered the revamp in just three weeks and delighted that so many businesses came forward to help.

“It shows the power of the Blackpool business community. We’d love other companies to get involved in projects like this in future.

“It’s the right thing to do for young people and the wider community. The more businesses who get involved, the better.

“When companies volunteer their support like this, it means organisations like the Sea Cadets can get essential work done without having to spend their limited resources and can concentrate on giving young people amazing adventures and experiences.”