Bryn y Maen is a small and scattered rural community with a mixture of native Welsh speakers and English incomers. The village has neither a shop, Post office, school, Church Hall nor pub. The Church of Wales has a mostly English congregation: the majority of Welsh speakers worship in chapels elsewhere. In 2017 a group of local people formed a society to revive a show of vintage vehicles and rural crafts, originally run in the 1940s, which has now run in May 2017, 2018 and this year on May 11th.
The Society committee brought together Welsh and English speakers in planning and setting up the event. We bridged the intergenerational divide between the older farmers and young helpers, specifically young farmers and local school children. We engage children through an environmentally themed painting competition and, on show day, allowed them to try rural crafts for free.
People from across the area come together who would otherwise rarely see each other. Links have been forged between the agricultural and non agricultural communities, Welsh and non Welsh speakers and between the generations. This was especially helpful last Spring, when the "Beast from the East" cut off many isolated houses for several days and local farmers dug them out.
We have made donations to Alzheimer's Research and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute from our proceeds, which indirectly benefit local people.
We should like to develop a focus in the village for local people. One model for this is the old BT red telephone box in Llanelian, a neighbouring village. This acts as a book exchange, a place where people can leave surplus garden produce for the benefit of others and a base station for a cardiac defibrillator.
By show casing rural crafts to young people, such as dry stone walling, basket weaving, pole lathe turning, spinning and weaving, and so on, we aim to engage a future generation in these crafts and encourage them to build lives in the countryside.