during the war period, being appointed Acting Secretary of the Welsh Council, and he took up his duties in June, 1921.
New Beginnings - The Post_War Period.
Before settling down in his new sphere, Mr. W. H. Drake sought suitable rooms for Headquarters, away from the Central YMCA. It was felt that the interests of the Welsh National Council would be served best by not being located in the premises of a local YMCA, and a suite of rooms was acquired at 10 Museum Place, Cardiff.
The Welsh Council and the Executive Committee were strengthened by the addition to their membership of several prominent and representative laymen. The Council met annually and the Executive Committee every three months.
The staff at Museum Place included Mr. Drake's London secretary, Miss Roberts, John Rowell, W. J. Pate, George Lewis and S. H. Phillips who acted as Staff Secretary. G. W. Thomas continued as a West Wales Secretary.
The programme of work of the new Acting Secretary I
The closure of all Forces Canteens including collecting credits due to
centres, rounding up any debts incurred and securing delayed trading statements. In some cases it was found that monthly trading statements were
heavily in arrears.
iii. Visiting Local Associations and meeting Committees which presented difficulties of various kinds.
His first concern was to close all canteens in Wales, except a few in West Wales. Many huts were allocated to local Committees and transferred to rural areas to be used for the purpose of Red Triangle Clubs.
The financial position was eventually stabilised and the National Council accepted responsibility for clearing all known debts. The salaries of the departmental Secretaries were accepted as a London responsibility and arrangements made for them to meet their opposite staff members in London for consultations, and to attend appropriate Committees.
Under the direction of the departmental Secretaries the YMCA in Wales once again became outward looking and forward going. An upsurge of activities characterised the work for boy members and the expanding programme of educational facilities.
John Howell visited many Associations and Workmen's Institutes to urge Committees to form Youth Groups in their buildings. Aberaman Boys' YMCA founded in 1919 was flourishing. It was the first Boys' Club with purpose planned premises and a full time trained Leader, to be opened in Wales. Two years later, a Boys' Club was opened in Newport for young rivet workers at the Docks; their building was a disused Police Station in Temple Street.
A tribute to the vitality of those two Boys' Associations is the profusion of confidence in their future work and programme which they express today over fifty years after their founding.