Valleys Kids make it possible for children, young people and families who live in one of the most deprived communities in Europe the chance to have ‘out of the ordinary’ experiences, which give them a different perspective on their lives and what they can do. We also have a team of experienced staff and committed volunteers, running regular sessions for all ages, which provide a bedrock of support and encouragement and a safe haven where they are not judged or labelled.
What are the Valleys describes where we are and what we do:
Volunteers are the lifeblood of Valleys Kids, they provide invaluable support to help deliver sessions across all our Centres. Each year we have UNA international students who give their time and talents and a refreshing insight into other cultures working alongside our staff and local volunteers. Victoria from France, Mirchan from Austria have not let the lockdown get in the way of delivering play and craft sessions for our children. Here a glimpse of what they have been up to:
Welsh comedian and TV presenter, Rhod Gilbert is a believer:
He recently performed a benefit gig at the Park & Dare Theatre to raise funds to support our work. In 2012 he promoted our spectacular, multi-media Cultural Olympiad Project, Mzansi Cymru, linking performers from Valleys Kids with those from Townships in Cape Town in the Wales Millennium Centre and ArtsCape.
As part of the four year Cultural Olympiad journey, young and old members of Valleys Kids communities came together with professional designer, Mary Drummond to discover the joys of recycling rubbish into fantastical fashion, culminating in a fabulous fashion show…
The More Than a Song Community Choir, created as part of the Mzansi Cymru Project linking South Wales with South Africa, surprised Christmas shoppers in the Wales Millennium Centre.
Young People Tell Their Stories
Ryan has been part of Valleys Kids for over 12 years.
Jessica is a member of our Dinas Project.
The Magic Box
Local Vauxhall dealer, Hutchings HQ donated a Vauxhall Movena Van to help Valleys Kids deliver play sessions to isolated Valleys communities. With support from Arts & Business Cymru we made this film to celebrate the magic of play and the generosity of Hutchings HQ, who won an Arts & Business Cymru Award in recognition of their support.
The Magic Box film
We are hugely grateful to Hutchings HQ. Play is a crucial strand of our work and without the Magic Play Box Van many children would miss out.
Chairman, John Hutchings and his son Steve, Managing Director agreed to be in the film and allowed us to dress them as a Genie, complete with velvet trousers and curly slippers. They were joined by Sargeant Ball from BBC series High Hopes (aka Boyd Clack) and Welsh rugby international Mark Jones.
We work imaginatively with business to ensure that their brand is profiled in a creative and innovative way.
Knox & Wells Builders and Valleys Kids Believers
Knox & Wells responded to our appeal for help to improve Little Bryn Gwyn, our residential centre on the Gower. At the time they were working on the refurbishment of Soar Centre in Penygraig. So, we commissioned a special video to celebrate their generosity and with Arts & Business Cymru support, our children worked with Knox & Wells builders, who do an impressive Pan’s People routine to words written by Pontypridd writer Laurence Allan with music by Rob Smith.
Little Bryn Gwyn – Making Memories
In 2004 Valleys Kids bought Little Bryn Gwyn from Barnardo’s. It was a tiny ramshackle two bedroomed cottage, two toilets and one shower . After winning the People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund and a successful capital fundraising campaign it has been transformed into a 25 – 30 bed, Eco-Learning Residential Centre with en-suite, ground source heating and a sedum roof. At weekends and during the school holidays, it is a place of exciting adventure for children, young people and adults. It has no mobile phone signal, no TV, but it has six acres of garden, a night sky studded with stars and the sea is on its doorstep. For children & families who have never been on holiday, who face daily challenges to make ends meet, it is a special place.