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Coed Cae Interact Club

Local Young People receive National Award for Community Involvement

Brynmawr Rotary Club with some Inspirational young people from the Blaenau Gwent Area opened the doors to a new Youth Club in Spring 2015 in the Scout Hall on the Coed Cae Estate Nantyglo, Blaenau Gwent.

The Coed Cae Interact club is a community based Rotary Youth Group and their members range from 10 -17. Opened for just one year the Interactors have been awarded The Rotary in Britain and Ireland [RIBI] Best Interact Project in recognition of their positive community work and the interaction with young people from the Coed Cae Estate and its surrounding areas to help themselves and their peers to develop skills, awareness of the opportunities available or to learn how to make them happen, with all of this is looking for a positive future for themselves and their community. The formation of the Club has heightened the social inclusion of the group of young people, has given them opportunities that might not otherwise become available to them and the commitment of them to projects, activities etc. which has proven that being involved and doing things otherwise the ‘norm’, makes for a change in the community where they live, the communities they do not know and in themselves as members of the World Community.  These Young People are inspiring and inspire others around. Brynmawr Rotary Club has received so many good comments because of the work the young people have done, and it’s been a success because it’s about them believing in themselves. For The Rotary Club Members, we’re motivated by the commitment of the young people themselves and believe that by showing young people other things in life – it can make a change in the perception of a fulfilling life for the young people themselves.

The Coed Cae Interact Club was chosen for this year’s award by the RIBI Youth Chairman and her team. The students were nominated for the Award in recognition of their amazing achievements. In the last 12 months, the group have performed an Abridged Mid-Summer Nights Dream in Beaufort Theatre with the Shakespeare Schools Festival, held pajama parties to fundraise for LifeStraw, Beauty pamper parties to fundraise for Mary’s Meals, learned to cook and clean as they eat at every meeting and much of it is now prepared by them for them…and be part of a decision making committee which included learning to listen and not talk over others! They have also volunteered as marshals at the Tai Calon Festival using the Tai Calon Festival as a platform to show the community and others what Interact is and does. Litter picked on the Coed Cae Estate – working with Keep Wales Tidy the numbers of bags of rubbish was amazing! As well a regular litter picking in Blaina and Brynmawr Town Centre’s, they’ve volunteered as stewards at the BNB Arts and Heritage Festival, taken part in a Fashion photoshoot wearing clothes from a designer from the London School of Art and Design on the Coed Cae estate and in the Community Centre.

Donna Wallbank a member of Brynmawr Rotary said “The young people in the Interact club are all role models to the children on the Estate and are also making a huge impact on their own social and educational well-being. They are also making a contribution to their local and wider communities, the proof is the number of Rotary Clubs outside of Wales who are asking for copies of their Presentation which they made at the National Conference last week in Bournemouth’’.

One of the Interact club members said, ‘’when we were brain storming what we wanted to do when the club opened, we wanted to make people aware that just because we live on the Coed Cae doesn’t mean we can’t do good things too” Donna Added ‘’ We work in Partnerships with groups such as Communities First, Head for Arts, Blaenau Gwent Council, BRFM and many more and means we are able to do so much more. Particular thanks have to go to Michelle Hurter a former Youth Worker who volunteers tirelessly to help us achieve all we do and who recently was awarded an Honorary membership to Rotary because of her commitment.’’

Brynmawr Rotary Club President Pauline Roden-Sharpe said ‘’ We are incredibly proud to work with these young people and hope their example and their well deserved award leads to other communities following their example and helps local communities develop further with the help of their Local Rotary Club’’

Representatives of the Interact Club travelled to Bournemouth to receive their award from Rotary International President K.R. "Ravi" Ravindran at the RIBI National Conference on April 2nd 2016. They also met Actress Jenny Agutter who was speaking about Shakespeare School Festival, which was really good as the children had performed in the SSF productions last autumn.

If you would like to join the Rotary Club of Brynmawr or one of the one of the other Rotary clubs across Wales, please visit www.ribi.org .

The Coed Cae Interact club’s presentation can be found on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKwpTfX-lWI

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