A Teesside estate agents have celebrated being shortlisted for the property industry’s most prestigious awards by donating £5,400 to charity.
Hunters have made the generous donation – equivalent to 5% of their annual profits – to Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation days before hearing if they are crowned the North’s East’s top estate agency in the prestigious Negotiator Awards .
And they immediately represented the Foundation on a visit to the “life-changing” Guisborough and East Cleveland branch of the Sea Cadets, who recently completed the transformation of their ‘galley’ thanks to the Foundation’s £2,000 donation.
Hunters general manager Lisa Preston, who is attending the Negotiator Awards at the London Hilton on Park Lane on November 3, said: “Visiting the Sea Cadets to learn more about their amazing work was the perfect way to celebrate our shortlisting for such a prestigious award.
“We believe in sharing our success with the community. That’s why we’ve committed to donating 5% of our annual profits – and a minimum of £5,000 each year – to the Philanthropic Foundation.
“The cadets are certainly a credit to the people who run the unit and volunteer their time to help these kids learn a trade, be respectful and be accountable for themselves and for others.”
“We do change lives here,” said Sea Cadets volunteer Maret Ward, the group’s fundraising coordinator,
“The Sea Cadets is inclusive – it’s for everybody and anybody – but I have seen it transform some kids.”
Maret, whose 12-year-old son Tom also attends the twice-weekly meetings, continued: “I’m very lucky. I had a lovely childhood and so has my son, but we have a girl who comes here who has been in and out of foster care.
“For her, the Sea Cadets is a safe place to come twice a week and escape the issues she often faces.
“We have one boy who doesn’t come from a good background and has some behavioural issues but he shines when he comes here.
“Many of the children who attend our unit come from deprived areas and I think it’s fair to say that some come here because they know they’ll get a good meal.
“While others are fortunate to come from more affluent backgrounds, they all lock together like a family. It’s so good to see.”
Thirty cadets – twice the number of just two years ago – attend the sessions at Belmangate in Guisborough, which promise “life-changing nautical adventure”.
Despite being landlocked, the unit has its own virtual navigation system where members learn meteorology and maths, while they also learn food preparation and cooking skills in the new galley.
“There are misconceptions about the Sea Cadets – that it’s all about going to sea. We do make sure the cadets do get on the water but it’s about so much more than that.
“The Sea Cadets gives young people a safe environment where they feel empowered. We’re helping them grow in confidence and take the first steps into becoming young adults.
“We give them a chance to flourish and they can make you so proud of them. Along with my fellow volunteers, I put in some ridiculous hours but we want to raise their aspirations and show them that there’s a huge world outside Guisborough and East Cleveland.”
Seventeen-year-old Joe Gibbs, from Moorsom, recently became the northern region’s first cadet in 15 years to achieve the prestigious Lord Lieutenant’s Award for his extraordinary commitment to his fellow members.
“The Sea Cadets is brilliant for opening up opportunities for children,” added Maret. “We’ve had some great success stories but Joe is an absolute ambassador to our younger members.”
And she added that the Foundation’s £2,000 donation had made all the difference to their facilities.
“That £2,000 has helped us loads because we’d run out of money. It has helped us complete the transformation of our kitchen – what we call our galley. The old kitchen was dilapidated – the gas pipes were corroded, we needed new floors, electrics, everything – but we got that done and now have a fantastic catering kitchen environment and eating area with fantastic new seating area.”