MEMBERS of a waterborne group forced onto dry land by the coronavirus have been given a boost.

Usually, Dunbar Sea Cadets, which caters for 35 young people aged 10-18, would spend 38 weeks of the year on the water.

However, the thriving youth recreational group has been forced onto solid land due to the global pandemic and instead left to rely on video calls to keep in touch.

With some of the youngsters potentially suffering from stress and disorientation that lockdown has created, the unit’s commanding officer, Chief Petty Officer Martin Galloway, approached Community Windpower and BeGreen Dunbar’s joint Covid-19 crisis fund for help with an idea.

Martin wanted to create wellbeing packs for the youngsters, who are dotted around East Lothian, to help ease any suffering the cadets might be feeling.

He said: “We are a surrogate family to our cadets and volunteers, all people who thrive outdoors and love being active.

“Lockdown has had a huge impact on how we engage with our young people, some from the margins of society, others in vulnerable set-ups.

“Even though we are engaging virtually through digital classrooms with our young people, the impact of lockdown in a rural area such as ours cannot be underestimated and the long-term effects on our young people.”

The packs have recycled pens, notebooks, highlighters, treats and activity books, but he needed funding to buy them all, which is where the fund came in to supply the full cost of £1,165.

Martin added: “We’re so grateful to Community Windpower and BeGreen for supporting the unit on this initiative and we can’t thank them both enough.

“Some of our cadets are in high deprivation areas, and family incomes have been hard hit as a result of Covid-19.

“These packs will be a welcome distraction to the young people and their families.

“It shows that we are still here to help and support them, and that they are not alone.”

Diane Wood, community benefits director at Community Windpower, which operates the Aikengall Community Wind Farms in East Lothian, said: “We know Dunbar Sea Cadets is a fantastic group to be part of and provides young people in the area with long-term skills and personal development that they might not otherwise have elsewhere.

“It’s so important we support all members of our communities during this Covid-19 pandemic, which is why we didn’t hesitate when Martin explained what they were planning to do with the funding.

“Children need something to help focus on something positive, to help with their mental health and encourage stimulating activity, and we hope these packs provide something positive for them.”