vigorous. For some time discussion about new premises had been underway at Bridgend, Port Talbot, and Neath and about a new gymnasium at Llanelli.
These requests to undertake new buildings in addition to existing commitments compelled the Council to formulate a buildings policy for South Wales.
It was laid down that the extent and quality of ameliorative welfare service in any industrial community and the availability of resources and personnel to maintain effective activities and standards of a Young Men's Christian Association, would determine the priority given to requests for urgent YMCA developments.
The outcome of these considerations was a decision to limit for the time being, new association building schemes to two areas, namely the industrial valleys and the coastal towns from Newport to Carmarthen.
The time was opportune for launching a plan to erect and open a cluster of Associations, chiefly for boys, in the mining valleys. Arrangements for twelve such centres had been agreed already with the Powell Duffryn Company.
A YMCA Committee had been formed at Onllwyn, in the Dulais Valley, and arrangements made for the Welsh National Council to erect an Association building on an excellent site donated, as already stated, by Mr. Evans- Bevan.
Several existing local Committees suffered frustration for want of more desirable accommodation and sophisticated equipment. There was a need for modern buildings at Bridgend, Port Talbot, Neath and Carmarthen, substantial extensions at Newport for youth work and a modern gymnasium at Llanelli.
It was a massive programme involving vast expenditure but prospects of financial assistance for such projects and developments brightened considerably in 1937. The Government had elected to establish a National Fitness Council specifically to provide recreational facilities for young people in the form of youth clubs, gymnasia, playing fields and swimming pools. A considerable sum of money was placed at the disposal of this council to make grants in aid for such projects undertaken by voluntary bodies. A Welsh office was opened in Cardiff with Mr. Evans Bevan as Chairman and Capt., J. Glyn Jones as Secretary of the Welsh Committee.
The Welsh National Council of YMCAs was well positioned to make immediate application for various projects. Plans had already been prepared for various schemes, some of which had been started. In addition, sites had been secured, essential features of building development well advanced and considerable quantities of building materials on hand. However, materials are only valuable when used by craftsmen and in this respect the Welsh YMCA had its own building "squad" already in action.
The YMCA was first in the field with its applications for grant aid for building costs for work which could be implemented without delay; all this while some organisations were still pondering. Several YMCAs in the Valleys were grant aided for the first stage of their building operations and some for the second stage. Port Talbot received a grant of £4,500 for their new building scheme in Station Road. Llanelli £3,750, for the construction of an excellent gymnasium, and Bridgend £500., for a building for boys work.