The Rotary Club of the Swansea Valley meets at the Pontardawe Inn, known locally as the Gwachel (hidden), on a Wednesday evening at 6.30pm. The meetings are generally informal and consist of a meal, followed by a 'where are we with the next project' session, occasionally a speaker or the monthly scheduled and more formal business or committee sessions.
The ethos of the Club is very much 'Service above Self' and strong partnerships have been established with the local Schools, Chamber of Trade, Community Projects, Inner Wheel and Charitable Bodies to support and deliver service projects the length of the Swansea Valley.
Creating opportunities for the Young People of the Valley is high priority. The Club is honoured to sponsor and support an Interact Club at each of the three local Secondary Schools, one of which conducts business through the medium of Welsh. The Interact Clubs are self-managing and ' arms are extended' in each direction to share ideas and to offer guidance and support.
The Club is committed to running the full range of Rotary competitions each year:
With the Secondary Schools (11-18); Youth Speaks in English and Welsh (with the Club running the Welsh Speaks programme for District), Young Musician, Young Soloist, Young Interviewer, Young Writer and Young Chef. In addition the Club runs an inter School quiz competition and organises a formal Community Service Awards event, with the winner going forward to Rotary Young Citizen. Many young people from the valley have progressed to further success at Area, District and National level.
With the Primary Schools; Young Photographer and Young Writer. In addition, the Club organises an annual 6 a side football tournament with the 24 local schools. Squads are mixed girls and boys and the emphasis is on team work, meeting children from other schools and fun through sport. Partnerships have been established with the local Leisure Centre, St John's and Pontardawe Town footbal Club. Referees are supplied by Cwmtawe Community School. The event on 25th September 2015 saw 184 children from 17 Primary Schools playing 104 matches within the allotted five hours. The Club also launched this year an annual Choir competition with the Primary Schools at a local Chapel.
Swansea Valley Rotary Club makes a direct financial contribution to Foundation and promotes the international work of Rotary within the local Primary and Secondary Schools. The Club works with the Schools to establish links between the work of Rotary and School Curriculum and undertakes activities on a rota such as tree planting, crocus bulb planting, shelter box demonstrations and Purple Pinky field hospitals. Several schools have purchasd and track shelter boxes as a result.
Within the community, the Club has worked closely with The Pontardawe Cross Project and has recently launched a monthly Tea dance in partnership with Age Connect. We are also pleased to host Father Christmas and his Elves each year at a local venue.
The Club cannot achieve these things without the full support of partners, family and friends. We organise regular social trips to local places of interest which are capped with a meal somewhere new. St David's Day is celebrated with an International evening with guests from Atlantic College. We organise at least four Charity fund raising events a year, two to three Christmas gatherings and the formal Club handover.
Pontardawe is situated in the Swansea Valley (Cwmtawe) alongside the A4067, eight miles North of Swansea en-route to the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is an area where the Welsh language is spoken widely and there is a strong sense of community. The River Tawe with excellent fishing runs thorugh Pontardawe (bridge on the Tawe) on its way to the sea at Swansea (Abertawe). The area is steeped in industrial history, known in its hay day as the pinnacle of the steel, tin and coal industries. Steel from the Pontardawe area was used to construct the roof of the White House in Washington. These days Pontardawe has some light engineering works and farming in the surrounding area, but is predominantly a dormitory town to Swansea and Bridgend.
In summary, Swansea Valley Rotary Club is a small, friendly and very active Club which offers warm welcome to all.
Croeso i pawb