Sidmouth army and air cadets’ new home joy

Purpose-built facility unveiled

DELIGHTED young army and air cadets in Sidmouth have been handed a brand new home.

Both organisations this week celebrated the completion of a purpose-built new base off Stowford Rise.

The facility, in Chambers Close, boasts a rifle range for target shooting, spacious classrooms, storage areas, offices and a large drill hall.

The 475 square metres hub will provide a permanent home for both Sidmouth’s Army Cadets detachment and 2019 Squadron Air Training Corps.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) built the Cadet Centre as part of a deal that will see the authority take over the now derelict Drill Hall on the Esplanade.

The official completion of the project on Tuesday marked an end to years of negotiations between the council and the Reserve Forces and Cadet Association (RFCA).

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“We’re over the moon,” said Sidmouth Army Cadets detachment commander Sergeant Adrian Smith.

“The cadet force’s motto is ‘inspire to achieve’ – and having better facilities and more space means we can have the imagination to inspire young people to achieve.

“With better facilities we can have more potential cadets. We’re trying to get more involved in the community.”

Flight Lieutenant Dave Toomey, commanding officer of Sidmouth’s Air Training Corps, said: “We feel really privileged to be able to continue working with young people in this purpose-built centre in the heart of the community.”

He described the rifle range as the facility’s “greatest asset” for cadets and added: “The modern facilities and equipment will mean we can improve and extend the activities we offer to the young people in this area. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to maximise what’s been provided.”

Flight Sergeant Alex Morton, 17, added: “We’ve been waiting such a long time to have these facilities. It’s perfect and, hopefully, we’ll now get more cadets through the door.”

Army cadet Sergeant Chris Smith, 16, said: “It’s brilliant, miles better than anything we’ve had before –just great.”

Councillor Graham Godbeer, EDDC’s portfolio holder for economy, said at the official opening of the building: “We’re very pleased and proud you’ve managed to come to such a wonderful building and facility - coming away from substandard accommodation.”

Budding cadets, aged from 13 to 18, and adult volunteer helpers are being sought. Visit for more information.