GLOOM YIELDS TO OPTIMISM
In the later period of the l890s in the Mining Districts of South Wales, boys welfare facilities of a social and cultural character slowly came to be regarded as the responsibility of the churches. Provision for table games and similar amenities for boys employed in the mines were available in some workmen's Institutes Where uncontrolled behaviour frequently resulted in their being regarded as a nuisance. The inevitable social centre of young mine workers was the "Ice Cream Shop". Generally his recreation consisted of efforts determined by the natural instincts of boys for such games as could be played in a street, or in the case of older
boys, on any odd patch of ground, particularly on a mountai slag or rubbish tip.
n slope or on a
The National Council of England, Ireland and Wales, in 1899
, instituted a
penetrating investigation in order to be more precisely informed about the
the Association and its fitness to cope with the demands of the to the 1920s. Associations were invited to state what new aims and
objectives should be adopted. Six main themes extracted from evidence received were listed in the Council's report for 1900 and heading that was the objective: "A Break Through in Boys' Work".
This breakthrough produced a mass of Association activities for boys, and the beginning of Boys' Sections in many YMCAs. These events brought about an adjustment in age limits for joining an Association. In the larger Associations membership in the Senior Section was available to young men of 18 years or over. In the smaller Associations youths from 16 were included in the senior membership.
Boys work and Junior Section Membership were generally for boys between 14, and 18 years of age, but regulations varied according to Local Association requirements.
Junior Membership was a kind of preparation for Senior and Full Membership in well established Associations. Two or three rooms were allocated for boy members and their activities. During this period the conception of segregated buildings for the service of youth lingered in its infancy although such edifices were desirable.
From 1919 onwards requests were made for Association club facilities for youth in districts where no Senior Association existed. This resulted in the erection of premises designed for boys work up to 18 years of age.
Examples of this are the Aberaman Boys' YMCA, the generosity of the Powell Duffryn Colliery YMCA, near Newport Docks, which was sponsored Newport.
which was made possible by Co., and the Temple Street by the Central Association of
A Junior Section imposed on an existing adult did not match the urgent requirements of a
organisation, in the 1920s, YMCA Youth Service with
expanding social and recreational agencies. At the same time, difficulties involved in the erection of separate buildings for boys' work posed immense
problems in respect of capital and maintenance costs.
The desire to provide such structures had to be abandoned,
generosity of a charitable public diminished with the cessation of the War. Changing industrial conditions also inhibited progress. Following a period of full employment during the War, unemployment later menaced many homes in South Wales. The situation worsened considerably during the Miners' strike