15 young people living at RAF Benson have taken part in a scheme to gain work experience while giving back to the local community, thanks to an initiative run by the station and supported by Cala Homes

The Youth Credit Scheme, which was piloted in 2019, provides young people aged between 12 and 17 with the opportunity to earn Amazon vouchers in return for volunteering for 10 sessions of community work. Activities include weeding, planting, painting and jet washing, with successful participants also receiving a letter of recommendation from the Station Commander. 

The 2020 scheme was due to launch earlier this year, thanks to a donation from Cala Homes of £600; but the initiative was put on hold due to lockdown. Happily, RAF Benson was able to relaunch once restrictions were eased. 

Meg Wickett, Community Development Officer at RAF Benson, commented: “Young people living on the station have few opportunities to earn money and gain valuable work experience early on in life. With support from both the station and the armed forces charity SSAFA we were able to fund the initial pilot scheme, but support from Cala meant it was able to run again this year. 

“Being able to provide this opportunity for our young people was even more important than ever given the challenges we’ve all faced over the last few months, so we’re really grateful to Cala.”

Cala Homes is building new homes locally at Hopefield Grange in Benson and Carmel Meadows in Wallingford. Regional sales and marketing director Stala Thomson comments: “Cala is committed to supporting the communities in which we build and helping to fund initiatives such as the Youth Credit Scheme. We’re delighted that the 2020 programme has finally been able to go ahead and it was really rewarding to hear about how hard the young people worked and the positive impact that their efforts have had on the wider community.” 

Cala is currently offering a range of three, four and five bedroom homes with Merlin Gardens at Hopefield Grange, as well as a collection of four bedroom family properties at Carmel Meadows. Both developments have special discounts for current and retired members of the Regular or Reserve UK Armed Forces. 

For more information visit www.cala.co.uk.

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