On October 28th 2010 at Porthcawl Pavilion around 150 people of all ages came together to celebrate the success of Valley and Vale Community Arts’ Growing Together project. The sparkle and glamour of the Porthcawl Pavilion lent a festive air to a screening of 30 short films from the Garw Valley.
Growing Together, now in its closing stages, has brought together older and young people from the Garw Valley throughout the last year to share and preserve the memories and history of their community. Funded by a generous award from The Heritage Lottery Fund, participants have learned the skills of storytelling and all the technical skills required to make short digital films. The resulting package of digital stories covers all aspects of Garw Valley life through the decades.
The celebration night opened and closed with rousing songs from Cor Meibion Cwm Garw, some of whose members had contributed stories to the project. Janice Gregory AM took part in the evening and gave her support by presenting certificates to all those who had taken part, praising the project, the films created and all the work that Valley and Vale does locally. The compère for the night was Micky P and singer and harpist Bethan Nia also performed, with her music delighting all who came along. The star of the evening were the stories themselves which were sometimes moving, sometimes humorous and always capturing something essential about their local history and communities.
Grouped into four subjects, the stories spanned Countryside and Environment, Work and War, Youth and Childhood and Life and Leisure. Among the many highlights were Coal Lorry to Porthcawl, a tale of the miners’ annual holidays, The Arsenal, a description of women’s war work in Bridgend, Our Life was Chapel, a view of the once thriving and numerous chapels in the Valley and Craig was Special, Cheryl Rowlands’ deeply personal account of her son who was killed in action.
One more training course will be run before the Growing Together project finishes, so if you are interested in sharing your memories or in learning the technical skills necessary to make a short digital film (all participants also receive an OCN qualification), please contact Melissa at Valley and Vale Community Arts.
The digital stories can be viewed now online on Valley and Vale Community Arts’ website www.valleyandvale.co.uk/films/digital-stories and DVDs are available from Valley and Vale on 01656 729246