Local history and heritage is at the core of the £4.4 million project, and the Minister had an opportunity to view a special part of the project which brings together words with local heritage, the area’s special history and ideas about its exciting new future.
In 2011 Gwynedd Council and Blaenau Ymlaen invited local residents of all ages to find words, sayings and poems to install on the streets of Blaenau Ffestiniog as part of the on-going regeneration project.
Workshops were held in the local schools and residents gave their suggestions along with some of the areas most well known poets and artists. The words have been inscribed by local companies on local slate and will stretch nearly a quarter of a kilometre along the streets of Blaenau.
Dewi Prysor, an energetic bard and author, led on the work and the final list of 120 sayings were chosen by him and the poets Gwyn Thomas, Gwilym Price and Gai Toms.
Dewi was very pleased with the response: “It was apparent that we have a wealth of cultural heritage.
“It was a real pleasure to collect the hundreds of ideas, some remembering Blaenau as it was and others looking to the future. We have quotes from songs, literature, local sayings, a selection from a massive collection of quarry sayings and the community at large.
“We’ve also included ideas and sayings produced by children from the schools, some refer to some of the organisations that play a key role in the town.”
Gareth Roberts a teacher at Ysgol Maenofferen added: “The pupils really enjoyed being involved in the work and are really looking forward to seeing some of their work in the Streets.”
Here are some examples of the word and sentences that have been chosen:
- Fel wagan gynta'r rỳn (translation - ‘Like the first wagon of the run’) a local saying that originated in the quarries
- Naddu’n rhy agos i’r drafa’l (translation – ‘Dressing too close to the edge’)
- Lobsgows troednoeth (translation - ‘Barefoot broth’)
- Torth goch a siwgwr coch (translation - ‘Red loaf and red sugar’)
- Some sayings reflected the areas witt as well - Al Fresco, hen foi iawn! (translation ‘Al Fresco’s an alright bloke’) will be installed by a cafe.
Numerous offers from the schools looked to the future, these are creative and positive, sayings like “Tref sy’n taro tant” (translation - ‘The town that strikes a chord’) and “Atgofion melys, yfory gwell” (translation - ‘Sweet memories and a better tomorrow’)
Huw Lewis, the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage said: “The Word on the Street project is a great opportunity to include local culture and heritage at the heart of a regeneration project and to show the character of Blaenau Ffestiniog.
“It’s great to see heritage at the heart of a regeneration scheme, this is unique to Blaenau Ffestiniog, it’s been created by the residents and reflects what’s unique about the town.”
You can find out more about the Blaenau Ffestiniog regeneration project by phoning 01766 512499 or visit the project website at www.gwynedd.gov.uk/blaenauymlaen or by the Town Council offices between 3pm and 6pm on 20 March.
The project is funded by the Welsh European Funding Office, the Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council.