THE WESTERN MAIL
& SOUTH WALES NEWS, April 26th, 1933
War on Unemployment
Sadness of Welsh Homes
Workshops, Classes and
By GARETH JONES
is no need for any unemployed man to be with out learning if he wants it.
Classes are springing up where he can learn with out expense Welsh
literature or philosophy, where he can discuss economics or international
affairs, or where he can sing or listen to music.
typical centre for learning is the Merthyr Settlement.
The Settlement has co-operated with the local branch of the Workers
Educational Association, which is, however, quite autonomous.
Classes are held in the Settlement which are attended by a number varying
from fifteen to fifty. The
Settlement itself is directly responsible only for the classes, which are not
grant-earning. These have been most
in the English language, in Welsh, French, and Esperanto are taken by voluntary
teachers of high standing. Thus
some of the schoolmasters of Merthyr are doing their fair share in the work.
An International Affairs Club has been formed which has discussed such
problems as the War Debts and Manchuria.
is more however than education of the mind.
There is also education of the body.
In the Settlement itself there are gardens covering one and three-quarter
acre which have been cultivated by the unemployed.
Vegetables, flowers, and fruits have, been planted and in the six months
since the men began the progress of the gardens have been remarkable.
They have erected a poultry house which is strongly and skilfully built
and where 100 Rhode Island Red incubated chicks are being reared.
START OF THE SCHEME
Garden Scheme arose out of a month’s lectures given at the Settlement by the
lecturers of the Glamorgan County Agricultural Committee on horticulture,
poultry, and pig rearing. Sixteen
unemployed men who attended the lectures undertook to cultivate the grounds.
The Craft Centre which had recently been established at the Settlement
has helped the Garden Scheme in every way.
unemployed Men’s Clubs at Cefn and at Troedyrhiw are examples of what
energetic and clever unemployed men can do.
In these clubs the members make and repair articles for their families.
In Cefn, for example, 500 pairs of boots have been repaired since the
club begin in Februay of last year. In
Troedyrhiw the unemployed men made a fine lecture room and a craft centre for
themselves out of an old building. Much
is due to the kindness of the church at Cefn and of private people in lending
premises and tools.
Boys’ Club and the Girls’ Club have also contributed much to the lives of
the young people.
weapon in the war against unemployment is the Society of Friends’ Allotment
Scheme. The object of the scheme is
to enable unemployed, partially employed, or seriously impoverished men and
women to obtain and cultivate their allotments and gardens, thus helping them to
provide the best and most wholesome foodstuffs for their homes, occupation for
the body, interest for mind, and to prove that they are willing to do good
service for the community.”
Society of Friends helps men to obtain land, or to get rents reduced where these
are excessive, and to provide men with the material for fencing on the condition
that the unemployed do the work. It
helps to provide cheaply seed potatoes, fertilisers, lime, tools, and vegetable
seeds for those who otherwise would have found it impossible to plant their
garden. Unemployed men who feel they could benefit from this scheme
are advised to apply the local allotment society, or to the National Allotment.
Society, 40, Broadway, Westminster.
is difficult to mention in a brief account all the plans which are being adopted
to tackle the unemployment problem.
A BOON TO DOWLAlS
Blue Pilgrims are doing excellent work. John
Dennithorn’s Club, overtook the tragically silent Dowlais Works in doing a
great deal to relieve the sadness of the unemployed man’s existence.
activities of the Barry Churches’ Unemployment Committee deserves mention for
two reasons: firstly, they show what can be done in a remarkably short time, for
a beginning was only made in the work towards the end of January this year and,
secondly, because they show Churches of all denominations co-operating in a
noble aim. On the committee Roman
Catholic and Baptist, Anglicans and Methodists, all sects and all churches, are
fighting together in the war against unemployment.
The Barry Churches have shown that Christianity has a practical way of
carrying out its purposes. Although
the committee has only existed three months it has already opened a workshop
where the men are busy making chicken coops, chairs, cupboards and dressers, and
repairing boots. The members of the
workshop club pay twopence a week. There
are 38 of them. Between 50 and 60
pairs of boots have been repaired and the costs are low.
the boots needing repair were examined it was found that not one had been
repaired by a tradesman. All had
been repaired from time to time by the men themselves out of inferior material,
for the men could not afford to take the shoes to a shoemaker.
spacious building where the men now work, and which is supplied with tools and
benches, has been granted to the committee at a nominal rent by the Great
women’s committee at Barry has distributed 700 garments to 100 families in the
short time the movement has existed. A
sport, club and a social club are being developed.
The brotherhood on Tuesdays has been most successful. The co-operation of the British Legion, of the Y.M.C.A., and
the Toc H has been of great value.
the fringe of the problem, however, has been touched.
This makes the opportunity still greater for all to help.
In increasing the work we can learn much from Germany, where last year
labour schemes were set on foot
for 250,000 unemployed young men.
is being done in Germany will be dealt with tomorrow.