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Women’s role in industry celebrated

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Welsh Women on the Factory Floor: The inside of the Compact Factory, with women at work, 1950s

Welsh Women on the Factory Floor: The inside of the Compact Factory,
with women at work, 1950s

A NEW project has set out to tell the tale of the vital role that women played in manufacturing industries across Wales.

Voices from the Factory Floor will see the stories of women like Gwen Eira Evans, who worked in a factory in Felinfoel, take centre stage, and guarantee that their voices are not forgotten.

The Voices from the Factory Floor project includes oral interviews, full transcripts of the recordings, and photographs documenting the history of women who worked in factories across Wales during a thirty year period between 1945 and 1975. The project is led by Women’s Archives Wales, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund

From Gwen Eira Evans’ tales of producing radiators for cars and aeroplanes in Felinfoel to Moira Morris’s stories of making men’s watches at Tick Tock in Ystradgynlais and Yvonne Stevens’ toy-making memories at Bacon Toy Factory, Llanrwst, where she later met her husband – over 200 such stories have now been documented in the project, reflecting an important period in Welsh manufacturing which underlines the vital role women played.

Catrin Stevens, the project’s co-ordinator, explains why she feels projects such as Voices from the Factory Floor play a fundamental role in capturing bygone women’s history: “Women’s history has, on the whole, been ignored and neglected through the centuries and the Women’s Archive of Wales’s aim is to raise awareness of women’s history and to rescue and safeguard the sources of this history. This specific project is extremely important as it recognises the important role Welsh women played in the resurgence of manufacturing, following the war. Their stories reflect a challenging work environment, while at the same time, show there was a strong sense of camaraderie and plenty of fun to be had at the work seaside trips to places like Tywyn and Blackpool. While the archive is fascinating for us now, in years to come it will be an invaluable source for those wishing to learn about Welsh life in this period.”

The stories have been captured because of a grant awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Head of HLF Wales Richard Bellamy believes that using Lottery money for projects like this is vitally important in keeping the country’s unwritten history alive: “Our heritage takes many different forms, and it is important we recognise this when considering how Heritage Lottery Fund money is distributed. Voices from the Factory Floor tells an important story and reflects on a key period in Welsh life, a period of change in our culture and in our ways of working. I would encourage everyone to log on and get lost in these factory tales – I guarantee you will discover an enchanting – and perhaps unexpected – women’s working world, helping us to discover who they and indeed we are, and where we’ve all come from, given the majority of these factories have now closed.”

One of the project’s contributors, Gwen Eira Evans, talks about her job she began in the 1940s when the Morris Motors factory opened in Felinfoel after the war broke out. She was 18 and knew nothing of Morris Motors but stayed there for 37 years doing the same job.

“My first job was on a farm when I was 14. You had to work for nothing. I got up at 6am and finished work at 7pm and sometimes later in the summer. I applied in person at the factory when I was old enough and my pay was double. I earned £9 per week, depending on how much work I did. I made radiators for cars and aeroplanes; the work was hard as I had a weak arm. When I started I thought the factory was enormous as there were more than 2000 workers, including many girls from Ponthenri. I caught the private bus at 6am as work began at 7.30am with a 10 minute tea break at 9.30am. There was a half- hour lunch break and work finished at 4.30-5pm. Workers weren’t permitted to be more than 2 minutes late for work. Any worker clocking in 3 minutes late was docked a quarter of an hour’s pay. Many girls stayed for years. Many had stuck it out during the war years because had they left, they knew, they would be compelled to work somewhere else possibly far away from home.”

A new film to promote the project has been launched this week at the Senedd and all materials will soon be transferred to the National Screen and Sound Archive at the National Library in Aberystwyth.

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Second workshop held on Ceredigion’s Economic Future

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A SECOND workshop was held on July 9 for County Councillors to discuss Ceredigion’s economic future bringing together some of the county’s biggest organisations to share what they had to offer and what partnership working between businesses and Ceredigion County Council could look like in the future.

The Workshop was an opportunity to hear from the large businesses that operate in Ceredigion. Environment Systems, MicroPharm and Rachel’s Dairy gave an insight into their businesses and about future investment opportunities.

The Workshops are an essential component of engaging with businesses as the Council begins to make preparations for a Growth Deal for the region which, if successful, will provide a major boost to the economy, job prospects and the prosperity of the area.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council and Vice-Chair of the Growing Mid Wales Partnership, said: “I hope that holding this second Economic Future Workshop shows that we continue to meet and support businesses. These businesses are key in keeping our young people in the county, providing a variety of different jobs and developing their skills and continuous learning for their future in West Wales.”

A third Workshop will be held in the near future which will provide a flavour of possible projects for a Growth Deal.

The Growth Deal will be prepared between Ceredigion and Powys County Councils, working with the Welsh and UK Government.

A Joint Agreement between Ceredigion and Powys is also being prepared for agreement in the Autumn to take this work forward.

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Lucy’s Law gets support from AMs

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AN EVENT calling for the introduction of ‘Lucy’s Law’ was held in the Senedd last Wednesday (Jul 11).

Assembly Members Eluned Morgan and Vikki Howells sponsored the event in support of an immediate ban on the sale of puppies by pet shops and other third-party commercial dealers, in response to growing concerns from animal charities that not enough is being done to prevent illegal breeding and animal cruelty.

The sale of puppies through commercial third-party dealers both sustains and is dependent upon the existence of ‘puppy farms’, where puppies are bred for maximum profit and with minimal regard for animal welfare.

Although very few high street pet shops sell puppies these days, the third-party trade remains significant across the UK with dealers operating from a diverse array of premises including private homes and puppy superstores. Evidence suggests that the trade sources puppies bred in Wales.

According to animal charity, CARIAD, a ban is the essential first step towards ending the practice of farming dogs for profit with little or no regard for their welfare or their fitness as family companions. Stress, increased risk of disease, poor breeding practices and irresponsible selling tactics are all associated with the method of third-party puppy selling.

Respected Vet and campaigner Marc Abraham spoke during the event at the National Assembly for Wales, he said:
“It simply isn’t enough to license puppy sellers, we must have a full and complete ban, to stop the trade and supply of dogs bred on such an extensive scale. Lucy’s Law will help to change the way dogs are bred in this country. It will make the process more transparent and raise standards, improving the economy and employment opportunities. This is a revolution in dog breeding and it will do wonders for the reputation of Wales as a responsible dog breeding nation.”

Eluned Morgan AM said: “There are many documented cases of puppy farming, particularly in the region I represent. Puppy smuggling is also an issue with several reported cases of puppies entering our ports from Ireland. The adoption of Lucy’s Law in Wales sends a strong message that as a nation we expect the highest animal welfare practises and that the cruel act of puppy farming can be consigned to history. I want us to be ambitious and to take the lead on this legislation which I hope will be a real possibility following this event in the Senedd.”

Vikki Howells AM said: “I am pleased to be jointly hosting this event today with important contributions from Pup Aid and CARIAD and Marc the vet who has done so much to raise awareness of Lucy’s Law across the United Kingdom and now here in Wales too.”

Legislation relating to Lucy’s Law is devolved to the Welsh Government under the 1956 An

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Views sought on proposed Ceredigion Language Strategy

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VIEWS are being sought on the proposed Ceredigion Language Strategy 2018-2023.

Ceredigion County Council’s proposed strategy sets out how the Council – working in collaboration with other partner organisations – will actively promote the Welsh language and facilitate the use of Welsh more widely within the local area.

Producing the Strategy is one of the requirements of the Welsh Language Standards in accordance with the Welsh Language Measure (Wales) 2011.

The Ceredigion Language Strategy aims to sustain and to promote the Welsh language in all aspects of life and to demonstrate ways of strengthening social networks in a bilingual area. Ceredigion remains a stronghold of the Welsh language however communities are changing which can affect the Welsh language and culture. Responding to these challenges, mitigating the risks facing the Welsh language and securing the viability of welsh-speaking communities requires robust language planning, alongside taking positive action in all aspects of social and economic life within the county.

The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Welsh Language Standards, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, said: “In implementing this strategy, Ceredigion will be contributing towards the Welsh Government vision in its Welsh Language Strategy, which aims to reach a million Welsh speakers in Wales by 2050. This strategy is an opportunity for us to work across the county to increase the use of Welsh language and to ensure that it reaches those parts of public life where it may be less prominent at present. This vision is to maintain a truly bilingual Ceredigion, where the Welsh language can be seen and heard every day in communities as a natural means of communication.”

The strategy is designed to be as realistic and proactive as possible in order to contribute to the vision of a truly bilingual Ceredigion, however the actions identified are within the sphere of influence of organisations working in partnership through the Ceredigion Bilingual Futures Forum.

Councillor ap Gwynn continued: “We are inviting you to comment on the proposed Strategy and the identified actions to be delivered in Ceredigion. We value your opinion, and your comments will be taken into account when publishing the final Strategy.”

Closing date for the consultation is August 13, 2018.

To view the proposed strategy, visit the Consultation page on the Council’s website, www.ceredigion.gov.uk/

Individuals are welcome to contact the Council on 01545 570881 should they wish to receive further information or to receive the information in another format. You can also obtain a paper copy of the Strategy at any of the Council’s Public Offices or Libraries.

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