Midlands Boat Station

Artist’s impression of the new Midlands Boat Station by our architects, Troyka Associates Ltd

From summer 2024, our state-of-the-art facility will transform thousands of young lives, in Birmingham and beyond!

Located on the banks of the Edgbaston Reservoir in Birmingham, the new Midlands Boat Station will be used as a watersports training hub with residential opportunities to deliver a range of inshore boating activities for Sea Cadets, including dinghy sailing, paddlesports, powerboating, rowing and windsurfing.

It will also become home to the local Birmingham Vernon Sea Cadets, which allows cadets to receive teaching on subjects including first aid, music, navigation, marine engineering, catering and leadership skills.

The building itself will provide a stunning new venue for the use of community groups, schools and other local charities.

Artist’s impression of the new Midlands Boat Station by our architects, Troyka Associates Ltd


The boat station will serve 1,500 sea cadets in the Midlands – an area that has historically lacked accessible waterside facilities. We have 37 Sea Cadets units within 90 minutes of this location who have been facing much longer journeys to receive waterborne training – but not for much longer!

And there are so many more people that could benefit. There are 340,000 young people aged 9 to 18 within 30 minutes of Edgbaston Reservoir – a brilliant resource for the region.



A space for Birmingham Vernon Sea Cadets

We’re creating a first class setting for training and education, as well as boating and watersports – providing a fantastic new space for our local Birmingham Vernon Sea Cadets Unit.

Since 1947, Birmingham Vernon Sea Cadets has been part of the Ladywood community. They are now looking forward to returning to a modern and vibrant space to welcome even more young people from the local community, who will continue to be supported by their volunteers.


As well as being part of our national Sea Cadet Corps, the unit is an independent charity currently run by over 20 volunteers. It provides a huge range of water- and land-based activities for over 60 cadets, and qualifications including Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and BTECs. As a youth-centred charity, it is proud to deliver the Sea Cadets Experience that aims to launch its young people for life with the skills they need to succeed.

As a highly celebrated Sea Cadets unit with a proven track record, Birmingham Vernon has transformed the lives of many young people from the local community. And this new space will be the springboard to welcoming more young people for generations to come.

Residential training for cadets and local young people

In total, the boat station will offer over 30,000 boating and activity sessions – providing regular support to 500 sea cadets in the Birmingham area and over 1,000 residential places for local young people at weekends and during school holidays.


Engagement with those who need us most  

The Midlands Boat Station will also provide a base for our annual On The Water programme in Birmingham; in 2022, this initiative engaged 423 hard-to-reach 9 to 14-year-olds in the city, providing 3,114 activity sessions and delivering 82 qualifications.

The new boat station will allow us to give up to 600 young people their first experience of water-based fun – from kayaking to raft-building – in an even more welcoming and well-equipped environment.


An asset for the community

This exciting project will also create huge gains for the wider area. By regenerating this site, our new boat station will unlock the potential of Edgbaston Reservoir to enhance the local community – creating new opportunities for water-based leisure and learning, while providing an attractive new venue for community events.

The Midlands Boat Station will employ two staff members who, supported by volunteers, will work to build relationships with the local schools and youth groups who could benefit from our activities. Further outreach work will ensure that this fully accessible building is utilised by the wider community. We believe its classrooms, indoor activity spaces, accommodation and fitted kitchen make it the ideal venue for hosting memorable community events and meetings in a unique waterside setting.

Artist’s impression of the new Midlands Boat Station by our architects, Troyka Associates Ltd


Sharing the Sea Cadets Experience

A major part of our vision for the Midlands Boat Station is to build strong relationships with local schools and youth groups, to help us introduce many more children and young people to boating and watersports. Because these special activities require purpose-built facilities, quality equipment and expert instructors, the costs can exclude many children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

For many, becoming a sea cadet is the only way to experience the thrill of kayaking or sailing, making this development a vital part of delivering on our strategic aim to support more (and more diverse) beneficiaries. With the support of local residents and community groups, and the experience and leadership of our Birmingham Vernon Sea Cadets Unit, the Midlands Boat Station will allow us to provide even more life-changing opportunities.


Creating community-spirited citizens

Being locally rooted over the 125-year lifetime of the building, Sea Cadets will equip thousands of young people with the confidence, character and positive attitude that will help them become a huge asset to the community.

As well as giving them invaluable life-skills and improving their mental and physical health, the boat station will be a hugely positive force for promoting community cohesion, with young people making new friends, learning the importance of teamwork and mutual respect, and taking pride in caring for the site and the surrounding environment.

Supporting volunteering

We also want the boat station to provide opportunities for volunteering within Sea Cadets, with these new facilities providing the perfect venue for training and mentoring.

Sea Cadets is a great place to start your volunteer journey or add to your volunteering experience. Whether you want to become a trained instructor on the water, use your expertise to raise funds and profile as a trustee, or just lend a helping hand at the unit, you will always receive a friendly welcome!


September 2023

The structure of our Midlands Boat Station is starting to take shape in these recent drone photos taken by our construction specialists Speller Metcalfe.

An important milestone in the history of Sea Cadets was achieved on Friday, 14 July with a ‘breaking ground’ ceremony that marked the beginning of the construction of the state-of-the-art Midlands Boat Station. The community-centric project was inaugurated in the presence of Cllr Sir Albert Bore, Sea Cadets CEO Martin Coles CBE, senior contractors and a gathering of dedicated staff, volunteers, and cadets. 
Cllr Sir Albert Bore said: “I was delighted to take part in this event, celebrating the beginning of a project which will have such a significant and far-reaching impact on our local community, especially our young people. Well done, Sea Cadets!”

The construction of our highly anticipated Midlands Boat Station is officially underway. With thanks to our architects, Troyka Associates Ltd, and our construction specialists, Speller Metcalfe, our vision of creating a new state-of-the-art facility is becoming a reality. The site is now a blank canvas ready for our construction journey to begin, take a look! 

“Speller Metcalfe are delighted to begin work on the new Midlands Boat Station as we know how much of an impact this new facility will have on the training and teaching sea cadets receive. As a local contractor, we know how much the local community will benefit from this facility. We look forward to working with the Sea Cadets as the scheme progresses.”

Speller Metcalfe


The site in July 2023

With the site cleared in readiness for the start of the new build contract, our local employees are working well from their new modular office at the site, continuing to offer boating opportunities to local young people.

“We, at Troyka Associates Ltd, were privileged to be commissioned to design the new MSSC Midland Boat Station. 

The proposed station’s location on the banks of Edgbaston Reservoir, a designated local nature reserve and site of historic importance, has been a challenging site. The design has evolved over the last 5 years journeying through the ups and downs of the planning system and weathering Covid restrictions, to at last emerge to commence construction. It is wonderful to see it finally starting to come to fruition as a “real building”. 

Working on behalf of MSSC with Ridge and Partners LLP and alongside Speller Metcalfe we look forward to progressing the project through to its anticipated completion in 2024.

This is a much-needed facility in the heart of the Midlands and we know it will be enjoyed by sea cadets, trainers, staff and community in general, for a long time to come.”

Troyka Associates Ltd.


February saw MSSC CEO, Martin Coles CBE, join boat station staff and Birmingham Vernon volunteers at two public meetings to allow local people from the Ladywood area of Birmingham to learn more about the project. We were delighted to welcome local councillors, MPs and Sir John Crabtree OBE, the Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, as well as many of the local young people who will benefit from the new facilities.

A mixed group of event guestsYoung people viewing a display board     A family viewing a display


We want to make sure local people are engaged with this project and can make use of the new facilities from summer 2024.

If you want to know more about the Birmingham Vernon Sea Cadets Unit – or register your interest in joining as a cadet, volunteering as an instructor, or becoming part of the management team – please get in touch by emailing tsvernon@hotmail.co.uk or visit www.sea-cadets.org/birminghamvernon  

If you represent a local school, youth group or community organisation which is interested in using the Midlands Boat Station, please contact us at midlands@ms-sc.org

If you want to find out more detail about the Midlands Boat Station, or Sea Cadets’ work as a national charity, please get in touch via: mssccomms@ms-sc.org


Sea Cadets is a national youth charity providing opportunities for fun, adventure and learning for 14,000 cadets (aged 9 to 18) around the UK. Thanks to the dedication and expertise of our 9,000 volunteers, we give our cadets the best possible start in life – helping them fulfil their potential and develop the skills and confidence they need for a successful launch into adulthood. With 400 units across the UK, Sea Cadets also benefit from the guidance and support of the Royal Navy and the leadership of HRH The Princess Royal, in her role as Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps.

What Sea Cadets achieved in 2022:

  • Facilitated the equivalent of 41,308 cadet training days;

  • Hosted 2,250 cadets in summer camps;

  • Registered 1,204 cadets for Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards;

  • Provided over 1,500 berths on offshore voyages;

  • Engaged almost 15,000 school pupils with our Marine Engineering Pathway STEM sessions.

  • We also provided amazing activities for those who have never had the chance to try boating or watersports before – including through our On The Water project, which gave 1,400 hard-to-reach children the chance to make a splash, learn new skills and get a massive confidence boost.

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