Building Blocks Youth Cafe

Thomas Evans- satisfied customer

Resolven Youth Café is held on a Tuesday once a month in Resolven Building Blocks—  6.30 pm to 8 pm for school year 6 pupils to school year 11. It opened on October 17th and provides a relaxing and safe environment for the village youth to visit.  Each session’s delicacies are themed, ranging from ‘Taco Tuesday’ to Italian week, —- easy-going food at reasonable prices and as well as music, the café boasts a pool table and a hockey table.

Building Blocks manageress, Ceri Pritchard, told me” We started to meet up over a year ago when we applied for the community fund. The Youth Forum came up with the idea of having a cafe and we started to talk about it further to get money to fund it. I do think it is important for the village youth, providing additional activities for them.”

Building Blocks are soon to host other festive events.  there will be a Christmas Fair and Parent Tour of the building  on December 6th from 3-7 pm and then a Turkey Tuesday with turkey rolls, chocolate logs and lots of other festive fare on the 12th of December.  As well as the Christmas themed cafe, Building Blocks are to hold a Parent and Child Christmas sensory session and child development skills class free of charge.   So for the next few weeks, during the Christmas build up, the  Building Blocks team have  you covered for everything you need to get into the festive spirit!

Youth Forum members From L–Carley Lewis, Megan Langdon, William Pritchard, Emily Langdon, Thomas Evans, Jack Groth

Behind the cafe, the Resolven Youth Forum have put in a lot of hard work during their spare time in order to get the cafe up and running. After visiting one of their events I can safely say that I think it’s a great idea.

REPORT by ROWAN DAVIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Local History Book Launched In Resolven

NEW LOCAL HISTORY BOOK LAUNCHED IN RESOLVEN

The following is a profile of the talented author William Alun Willis. William was born and brought up in the village and is a true Resolven boy. He is well known to many as his family kept the local post office. He left the village for a while but returned to his roots and is now happily living in the village with his young family. He has a keen interest in ‘everything local’ and believes that the past and its people should not be forgotten. His latest offering gives an insight into the Resolven of today, while reminding us of what village life was like for past generations ‘back in the day’.

William’s new book, ‘RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW’, has been on sale since 15th November 2017. This book chronicles the history of Resolven in photographs between 1895 and the present day. It is William’s intention to compare the old and the new by way of the local shops of the time, the Resolven Institutions, Societies and local Industries. Most of the photographs and images that William used have not been seen or published before, and include some rare pictures of village life.

‘RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW’ – front cover

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The new publication covers every aspect of village life such as shops, local societies, stage, transport, schools, war heroes, sport, worship and coal mining. William was keen to cover as many interests as possible. Each photograph is accompanied by detailed captions containing names and information about the subjects. Many of the eighteen chapters contain potted histories of the topics.

William spent many months gathering and taking photographs and compiling the captions and histories of the subjects. This could not have been achieved without the support and keen interest of the people of Resolven, to whom William as the author acknowledges a great debt. It quickly became apparent to him how strongly the village cares about its history and its heritage, and how this feeling is shared among older and younger generations alike.

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There were so many contributions to the book ‘RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW’ that William has decided to publish a second volume of photographs in the Autumn of 2018. This publication will aim to cover new subjects, such as Resolven’s great characters, its traditional pubs and historical eating places, farms, Rheola House, as well as shops and stores at the higher end of the village. Anyone who would like to to contribute is kindly asked to contact William via the address contained in the book.

Postman and Staff pictured outside the Resolven Post Office of ‘….NOW’

RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW’ may be purchased directly from William, the author, at the retail price of £8.95 or from Marcia’s Shop [Resolven Post Office].

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

William Alun Willis was born in Resolven. His parents, Joan and Vic Willis, ran the village Post Office for more than 40 years. His mother, Joan, was a serving Justice of the Peace for more than 20 years. William attended Ynysfach Primary School, Resolven (see photo below c.1968 – author is 4th pupil from left in the back row).

Ynysfach School pupils – 1969

William started writing comedy scripts with his close friends Eurfyl Davies and Geraint Evans whilst studying for ‘A’ Levels at Dwr-y-felin VI Form College, Neath. Publishers W.H. Allen took an interest, and encouraged the author to try to write professionally.

William attended the University of Wales at Swansea, gaining a combined honours degree in Social History, Sociology and Social Anthropology. However, much of his ‘studying time’ was spent writing and editing the University ‘Rag Mag’ – a charity publication. William was also editor of ‘The Beck Mail’, a residential hall newspaper.

In 1984, William gained his post-graduate qualification in Social Work Studies (specialising in Childhood and Adolescent Behaviour) at Southampton University, before returning to Swansea University to take up the post of Press Officer.

William worked in the training department at Milland Road (under the auspices of Neath Borough Council) for more than twenty years, specialising in special needs teaching and, later, key skills training. He became Training Officer for Neath Borough Council at Milland Road in 1988.

Between 1990-91 William took a gap year, first back-packing around Egypt, Libya and the Sudan; then accepting a year’s TEFL contract at the English Education Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he taught English to professional groups such as doctors, architects and businessmen.

William returned to work for Neath Borough Council in 1991, where he met his partner, Joanna, in 1994. They have been together for 23 years, and have two wonderful children.

In 2001, William began writing for radio and television (see last section of this article), but also decided to re-train as a Law Costs Draftsman [legal accountant], from which job he recently withdrew to take up professional writing again.

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PREVIOUS PUBLICATIONS

William’s first local history book was co-written with his cousin, Alun Evans, and was entitled ‘GHOSTS AND LEGENDS OF THE VALE OF NEATH’. William also illustrated the publication. A foreword was provided by Chris Stuart of BBC Radio Wales.

The book related some of the many supernatural stories about the Neath Valley, including: the Hounds of Hell; the Fountains of Paradise; King Arthur at Craig-y-Dinas; the Devil’s Pathway; Edward II at Neath Abbey; the Ghostly Mera; the White Lady of the Gnoll; the Old Lady of Water Street; the Farmhouse Monks; the Dance of Death; the Schoolhouse Haunting; and the Hitchhiker of Briton Ferry.

Published in 1987, this title sold two-thousand copies in 3 months, but is now out of print. Copies are occasionally available via e-bay or local second-hand bookshops.

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Later in 1987, the author and Alun Evans co-wrote/illustrated another book, ‘FOLKTALES AND SUPERSTITIONS OF THE VALE OF NEATH’, which was also a sell-out success.

This book chronicled some of the many traditional folktales linked to the Vale of Neath, including the giant Ysbyddaden Pencawr, the lovers Cilhwch and Olwen, the mischievous fairies known as Tylwyth Teg, the Green Goddess, the Water Horse, the Mari Llwyd, Guto Bach, and Tam and Merin’s encounter with the hobgoblins.

Although sadly now out of print, copies of ‘FOLKTALES AND SUPERSTITIONS OF THE VALE OF NEATH’ are occasionally available via e-bay or local second-hand bookshops.

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In 1993, William wrote and illustrated his first solo publication, ‘OLD CRAFTS AND CHARACTERS OF THE VALE OF NEATH’. BBC Wales Producer/Presenter Anita Morgan provided the foreword.

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This book was a history of all the traditional crafts practiced in the Vale of Neath, such as coopering, tanning, smithying and wheel-making, and also looked at local characters such as the the drover, the tinker, the apothecary, the rat-catcher, the cockle-seller and the poacher. Owing to the much larger print-run for this publication, some copies are still available via the author. The retail price is £3.50 (softback, 44 pages including covers).

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THE AUTHOR AT BBC WALES

In 2001, William entered a competition run by the BBC – ‘The Celtic Nations Comedy Cup’ – which was aimed at developing new comedy writers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. William was fortunate to be chosen as one of the winning Welsh entries, with a prize of his winning comedy play being staged at the West End in Glasgow. As a result of this, William was given a commission to write a comedy series for the BBC.

In 2002, the comedy series ‘Do It Yourself’ was completed, which followed the exploits of the staff at Dragon DIY and Pet Store. All six episodes of this first series were recorded before a live audience at Resolven Miners’ Welfare Hall in February 2003. The series was directed by ‘Only Fools and Horses’ director Gareth Gwenlan, produced by Darren Broome, and featured an all-star cast from Welsh comedy television and radio. The show was a resounding success, and over the next 5 years another four series (24 episodes) of ‘Do It Yourself’ were commissioned from William, and were recorded before live audiences in a range of local theatres, such as the Coliseum in Aberdare and in the Cwmaman Institute.

In 2007, William wrote another series for the BBC – ‘The Harder They Fall’ – a six-part comedy which followed the trials and tribulations of a compensation law firm. Gareth Gwenlan directed, and Paul Forde produced the series. The cast included veteran actress Margaret John (‘High Hopes’), Brian Hibbard (‘Twin Town’ and ‘The Flying Pickets’), and Richard Mitchley (‘Blackadder’ and ‘Dr Who’). This time, the complete series was recorded before a live audience at the BBC studios in Cardiff.

William has only recently returned to professional writing after taking time out to help raise his two children. Among other projects, he is currently working on ‘Richman’s World’, a comedy pilot episode for television.

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