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Trip gives teenagers taste of Army life
A group of six troubled teenagers from Bradford spent the day at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire to break down barriers between youngsters and the armed forces.
The visit, involving teenagers from Frizinghall, came about thanks to the efforts of a Police Community Support Officer.
PCSO Kath Elder, of Airedale and North Bradford Police, secured a Military Covenant grant of £4,500 for three projects in the Frizinghall area of the city for the group of teenagers not in education, employment or training and who have come from difficult backgrounds.
She said the visit to Marne Barracks in Catterick Village helped to break down many of the barriers between the youngsters and the armed forces and give them an insight into how the Army was run.
She said: “I work in an area of Bradford where the children are predominantly Muslim and this is the first of five sessions working with different agencies including the armed forces and public service.
“We have had a lot of interest and I think it will work very well. These youngsters are not in work and many have been in care so I am hoping they will encourage many others to join in.”
The next project will be with Year 6 at Frizinghall Primary School and PCSO Elder said it would be very important for children to go home to their families and help to break down barriers.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Mark Hill, who himself had served for 23 years in the regular army and was now in the Reserves, said it was imperative for the Army to engage with such youngsters and show them what the Army is doing, where it is deployed around the world and encourage them to look for a career within the Armed Forces.
He said: “The communities within Bradford have a certain perception of the Army so it is important we try to build bridges with them, particularly the ethnic minorities.
“It is important we get the message across that even if they don’t want to join the Army full time they can still join the Reserves where they can build a career learning new skills such as being a mechanic, a chef or a medic which will help them to build up a better CV and market themselves better to civilian employers. It works for both sides.”