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Swansea history project wins £10,000 grant

Marking the £10,000 funding for the new Morriston social history project are, from left, Paul Rees of Tabernacle Community Radio, Swansea Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies, council officer Jacqualyn Box and Tabernacle congregation members Gwyn Morgan and David Gwyn John.

Some of Swansea’s richest social history stories could soon be preserved on film and audio files thanks to a £10,000 grant from Cadw – the Welsh Government’s historic environment service – and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The funding, secured by the Morriston Tabernacle Congregation with the support of Swansea Council, will see local people of all ages and backgrounds trained to carry out the filming and voice recording.

They will interview fellow locals who represent a wide cross-section of the older Morriston community.

Among the rich stories likely to be given new life will be those from: the Tabernacle itself, a 148-year-old Swansea landmark; the industrial Lower Swansea Valley, once the centre of the world’s copper-making trade; and nonconformist worship, so important to Welsh heritage.

Those helping with the project will include volunteers from the voluntary Tabernacle Community Radio group and people supported by the Fusion programme that is co-funded by the council and the Welsh Government.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “Morriston was built on industry – and the Tabernacle and nonconformism were central to the community.

“We want the Tabernacle to have a bright future; that’s why we recently delivered the first phase of an ongoing plan to revitalise the use of the building.

“I’m confident that this local heritage project will be warmly welcomed by the people of Morriston – both those who have stories to tell and those who’d like to preserve them forever. They are stories that deserve to be recorded.”

Andrew White, director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales, said of the 15-Minute Heritage grant: “We’re all probably more aware of our local areas of late and local heritage – whether that’s a building, a landmark, a nature reserve or even our local shop – is important because it helps create and shape our communities.

“Connecting with our heritage is also good for our wellbeing and thanks to National Lottery players and our partnership with Cadw we have been able to encourage a diverse range of people right across Wales to get out and about to explore and re-discover their local area.”

The bilingual social history project will bring together diverse members of the community and will see valuable knowledge passed on through the generations.

It will deliver a training project for those local people who do not usually engage with local heritage.

Content will be provided by older members of the Morriston community, including members of the Tabernacle congregation. Many of these individuals are in their 80s and 90s – and they hold a wealth of anecdotal, social history that hasn’t yet been recorded.

The Fusion project will reach out to disadvantaged groups, encouraging them to get involved in this valuable cultural activity.

The volunteers will work with a professional filmmaker and provide further technical expertise. The visual and audio material created will be available to use in a variety of ways including for heritage tours, on social media and for podcasts.

Memories of the Grade 1 listed Tabernacle will help those who visit the building better understand its history, social importance and influence.