70 year old group could close

A youth organisation in Eastwood that has been going for more than 70 years is threatened with closure and members say they are ‘heartbroken’.

The St John Ambulance Cadets meet at the Dora Philips Hall every Tuesday, but recently numbers have dwindled and leaders say if they cannot find new members the group will have to finish.

Former cadet sergeant Helena Page, 18, started in the group when she was ten and is now moving over to adult membership.

She still helps out at the cadet group.

“I started here as a cadet and I’d be heartbroken if the unit had to close,” she said.

The St John’s Moorgreen Unit, who meet at the hall in Wood street, takes both girls and boys aged 10 to 16.

Unit leader Nicola Twamley said: “It’s really sad. We’re down to just a couple of members now. We’ve decided that if it doesn’t pick up by Christmas we’ll have to finish.”

Ms Twamley said she did not know the reason for the dwindling numbers, and assumed it was because people did not know enough about the group.

“Everybody is aware of Brownies and Rainbows but not about St John cadets,” she said.

The cadets learn vital life-saving and first aid skills and get the chance to attend a variety of local events as part of the first aid cover.

They also work towards the Grand Prior Award taking part in various activities from cooking to animal welfare.

It is estimated that first aid could have prevented 140,000 un-necessary deaths a year, the same as the number of deaths from cancer.