Hr. E. L. Hann is remembered not only for his agreement and implementation of the initial arrangements of the scheme but for his personal assistance when difficulties arose. His interest in mining youth was a source of inspiration and his sympathetic approach to its problem resulted in the development of plans to hand on to the future, a substantial plan and equipment for social, secretarial, cultural and religious activities for young miners.
THE POVELL DUFFRYN UNION OF YMCAs. In 1944 the Welsh National Council established The Powell Duffryn Union of YMCAs in the Powell Duffryn area, for the purpose of co-ordinating activities of the new associations. Its committee met quarterly in Aberdare House, at Park Place, Cardiff, under the chairmanship of Mr. George Watson and later Mr. Geoffrey Morgan. The committee rendered valuable service in its regular surveys of the requirements of all YMCAs in the Union and in its administration of maintenance grants to local committees. No YMCA, however small, was overlooked.
Later, the committee broadened its basis of membership to include representatives of industrial firms interested in the YMCA Movement. The committee continued to function until 1972. Several local Associations which functioned during the pre-war period had their programme activities directed by part time leaders who rendered good service. Increasing membership of the new Associations, however, required full time leaders and appointments were made possible by sections of the 1944 Education Act which vested local Education Authorities with powers to subsidise the salaries of approved full time Youth Leaders. This provision was of enormous advantage to the Youth Service. Within a short time after the implementation of the act, eight YMCA full time leaders were appointed in the area of the Glamorgan L.E.A., and one in Newport.
The opening of new Associations, with a rapid increase of membership, brought added responsibilities to the meagre staff of the Welsh National Council which had no travelling Secretary to organise work for boys. Yet new and sometimes inexperienced committees, gained guidance from the Council on many features of association activities and the ordinary routine of the local Association.
In 1943 the situation was eased by the appointment of a Boys' Work Secretary, Mr. Roland Smith, who had been Secretary of the Aberaman YMCA for seven years when he was invited to take up the appointment. His work was particularly concerned with the mining valleys and he was soon making contacts with local committees. He revelled in his new sphere of activity and visited weekly most of the new centres in the Powell Duffryn Area. What were the prospects of this new venture, with twelve new Boys' Clubs, an active Area Committee of industrial laymen, eight new full time Secretaries and a new enthusiastic Secretary for boys' work? There was a remarkable response! Hundreds of vigorous young men joined these local Associations and there was an increase in volume and quality of characteristic Association activities as are recorded in the following pages.