Press release

Tower Hamlets Air Cadet Squadron wins a Big Society Award

31, Tower Hamlets, Squadron Air Training Corps, Air Cadet unit has been recognised by the Prime Minister.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


31, Tower Hamlets, Squadron Air Training Corps, the first new Air Cadet unit in London for over 40 years, has been recognised for their innovative approach to training young people by Prime Minister David Cameron with a Big Society Award. The Tower Hamlets based Squadron teaches leadership, teamwork, and takes cadets on adventurous expeditions, as well as giving them the chance to learn to fly.

The Tower Hamlets group, which was formed after the 2011 August riots, is open to 13 to 20 year olds providing training and recognised qualifications, as well as instilling the principles of self-discipline, self-confidence and good citizenship.

Over 200 cadets have had the chance to experience flying, go on expeditions across the UK and overseas and develop their leadership and team working skills while gaining recognised qualifications. Since its formation the Squadron has helped over 130 cadets earn a first aid qualification and over 100 cadets have demonstrated their understanding of flight, mechanics and navigation, earning prestigious classification badges, which have led towards a BTEC Diploma in Aviation Studies.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

The Tower Hamlets Air Cadet unit is giving young people wings. As a result of the hard work of everyone involved, hundreds of young people have had the opportunity to take part in expeditions at home and abroad, to gain new qualifications and even learn how to fly. I’m delighted to name the unit Big Society Award winners.

Flight Lieutenant Rex Nicholls, Officer Commanding 31, Tower Hamlets, Squadron, Air Training Corps said:

We are delighted to have been recognised by the Prime Minister, and it is an honour for the Squadron to receive the Big Society Award. Our staff team is made up entirely of volunteers so it is a tribute to the huge investment of time and energy that they make in our local community that allows us to provide the opportunities we do in Tower Hamlets. We work with many young people from a whole range of backgrounds, and for a lot of them, we can give them the life opportunities that they would not otherwise encounter. We really hope that together with the support from the Fishmongers Livery Company, the Canary Wharf Group Plc and 31 Squadron Royal Air Force we will be able to continue our work for a long time in to the future, as we’ve seen the huge impact it can have when we provide young people with a productive pastime that helps them build their confidence and leadership Squadron encouraging young people to reach new heights skills, as well as their CV.

Cadet Sergeant Dedipya Rimal (aged 17) said:

I joined 31, Tower Hamlets, Squadron having made the journey from Nepal with my family whilst trying to teach myself English by reading E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. Since joining the Squadron I have found my confidence growing as I have made friends for life and developed my skills of teamwork and leadership. I have been fortunate enough to have many amazing opportunities, from undertaking a static line parachute jump and flying in the Grob Tutor, to being able to gain a St John’s Ambulance first aid qualification and my silver Duke of Edinburgh Award. I know that the opportunities that the Air Cadets have helped me put on my CV today will help set me up for my future career aspirations.

Published 5 March 2015