165 (Castle Bromwich) Squadron, RAF Air Cadets, have a fantastic year ahead of them as they become the Sainsbury’s (Castle Vale store) charity of the year 2015/16.
In early June 2015 the Squadron was notified that the store was about to select its charity of the year for the next twelve months, and there followed a frantic few weeks when the Squadron tried to ensure that they made it on to the short list initially.
The voting was all completed by the public. They could either vote in store via a special voting booth, or via the Sainsbury’s website. The Squadron was up against some tough competition in the Royal Artillery Association and the John Taylor Hospice. The Squadron asked all its cadets, parents and supporters to vote for them, and the cadets also posted 1000 leaflets through houses that are situated around the squadron’s location on Cadbury Drive. The voting finished in late June, and it was a very surprised Officer Commanding (OC) who received a phone call from Sheila Hyland to inform him that 165 Squadron had won the vote!!
The launch of the charity year was held on Saturday 1st August at the store which is quite close to the Squadron’s Headquarters. Officer Commanding Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing, Wing Commander Iles attended the event along with the Squadron’s Wing Staff Officer, Flight Lieutenant Les Vile. The store manager, Ryan Allen, and the PRL manager at the store, Sheila Hyland were also in attendance. A number of cadets, members of staff and civilian committee members also attended the event. The Squadron’s cadets then went straight into their first bag back of the year and the OC set up an information point in the store’s foyer area.
As well as bag packs, and collections in the foyer area, the store has also allowed the Squadron to place collecting buckets on the end of each till, and these will be in place for the full year.
The Squadron has also held further collections since 1st August and as at 12th September, the grand total stands at £1620.
Flight Lieutenant Simon Jennings, OC 165 Squadron commented “Firstly I would like thank both Ryan and Sheila from Sainsbury’s for all their help. Once the public had voted for our Squadron, they have both helped the Squadron out immensely, and they have offered invaluable advice to me in terms of collecting. It is a great honour to be selected as the charity of the year for the Castle Vale store, particularly when you look at the other two short listed organisations. I would also like to thank the cadets who have supported the events magnificently, and also the staff who have helped supervise the cadets. We have another two collecting days at the start of October and then we have a whole weekend in the run up to Christmas. This is a real game changer for the Squadron and we are already planning how to enhance the facilities at the Squadron”.