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Mother campaigns to get kids "off the street" and into the cadets

PUBLISHED: 15:15 09 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:30 09 July 2019

Donelle Roach presented with the deputy lieutenant's certificate at Armed Forces Day.  Photo by Richard R. Schunemann.

Donelle Roach presented with the deputy lieutenant's certificate at Armed Forces Day. Photo by Richard R. Schunemann.

Richard R. Schunemann

Dionne Roach wants to get more kids from Hackney into cadets and away from negative environments and influences. She says the cadets "opens doors" and thinks people should know about it. The mother of cadet corporal Donelle Roach, who was awarded the deputy lieutenants certificate at the armed forces day on Saturday, lost her son Devoe to knife crime in 2009.

Proud mum, Dionne Roach, campaigns for more kids to join cadets. Photo by Richard R. Schunemann.Proud mum, Dionne Roach, campaigns for more kids to join cadets. Photo by Richard R. Schunemann.

Since joining the cadets she has seen her son rise up the ranks, growing in confidence and skills after having trouble dealing with his brother's death.

She told the Gazette: ""Having seen [Donelle] go through what he went through when his brother died and come out the other end its like wow! To be here [at the parade] not to be on the street doing something negative because it could have gone that way.

Your hearing that there's not enough for kids. Youth groups closing down, things are not happening and that's why kids are on the streets, but there are activities out there it's just finding them. If you don't put it out there in the public eye to find [who's] going to know?"

Dionne will work with the Department for work and pensions to get kids to join and staff to volunteer.

Cadet squadrons at the Armed Forces Day parade outside Hackney Town Hall. Photo by Richard R. SchunemannCadet squadrons at the Armed Forces Day parade outside Hackney Town Hall. Photo by Richard R. Schunemann

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Her son's Royal Air Force Air Cadet's squadron almost closed last year due to issues with recruitment and a lack of volunteers. It is currently raising funds and applying for grants to get a minibus for trips and activities which could cost up to £30,000.

Run by volunteers, the cadets offers kids a chance make ration packs, build bunkers, learn about meteorology and map reading, shoot, fly planes and more.

It costs about £10 a month and the air cadets meet twice a week at their hut on Albion Road in Stoke Newington. Children over 12 in years eight and above are welcome to join.

To celebrate armed forces day cadets from the air, army, police and navy squadrons received awards and marched in full uniform outside Hackney Town Hall.

Donelle was happy to receive his award. He said other young people should "definitely" join the cadets.

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