“It has been great for the children to get out and socialise during the holidays. It has given them the opportunity to try new things, my children have really enjoyed themselves.”
During the first two weeks of the summer holidays, we held our annual Summer Arts Project for children and young people living in the Garw Valley, offering creative and free activities during the long school break. The project was really successful, with a large number of keen children coming to many of the sessions.
This year we ran the project in Blaengarw Workmen’s Hall and also at Sardis Media Centre in Betws, offering three fun-filled days for local children in each venue. The project was co-ordinated by Alys Byrne, and facilitated by our enthusiastic and creative team – Alison Mc Gann, Tracy Pallant, Ali Franks, Katja Stiller, Anke Bariss, and Shelly Powell. Thank you also to all our helpers and volunteers, and of course all the children and young people we were lucky to share some of the summer with.
Over 30 enthusiastic children and young people between the ages of 4 and 14 participated each day and had a chance to take part in a large variety of arts activities including drama, singing and music sessions, clay modelling, painting, mosaics, instrument making, paper mache, jewellery making, cup percussion, film making, nature walks, parachute games, team building activities and nature weaving.
As well as creating beautiful art pieces to take home, everyone got a chance to learn new skills from a variety of arts professionals, we went out in the sunshine and explored our local environment and we made lots of new friends whilst having lots of fun.
We asked the children what they liked best about the project, and they had lots to say:
“My favourite part of the scheme was all the art and learning new songs, I also liked going out and walking in the sun” (Caitlin, aged 9)
“I liked making paper mache and making new friends” (Amelie, aged 6)
“I loved the nature weaving that we did in the park, ours looked really good” (Harley, aged 8)
“I liked learning the cup song and singing” (Chloe, aged 11)
“I have had the best time, I would like to come again for the whole week!” (Florence, aged 7)
The parents and guardians of the children also gave us great feedback:
“It has been great for the children and stopped them being bored at home, maybe a bit longer next time as they have really enjoyed it, and as a grandparent to 4 of the children it has been great to have a break!!” (Grandmother to Chloe, 11, Caitlin, 9, Ben, 7 and Josh, 5)
“It’s been great to help my son get a feel of some independence. He’s also had a great time with friends – so it has helped him develop more social skills and his creative side.” (Mother to Joe, age 6)
“It has been great for the children to get out and socialise during the holidays. It has given them the opportunity to try new things, my children have really enjoyed themselves.” (Mother to Gethin, 9 and Nia, 7)
Thank you to funding support from The Arts Council of Wales, Bridgend County Borough Council, and hopefully The Garw Valley Community Council, that enabled us to facilitate this important creative summer project for local children.
Due to its success and good feedback this year, we are planning to extend the programme next summer, to give free creative opportunities to more children and young people during the summer holidays, as part of our ongoing commitment to the Welsh Government’s Anti Poverty and Child Poverty Strategies.