Stories from the Road : 7 : Hitching in Wales

Dave Wiles and Tim Evans as Chief Executives of youth work organisations decided to draw attention to the good stories about young people by taking to the road with only £10 in their pockets. If you want to read earlier episodes, click here.

After a good night’s sleep and breakfast we set off again. We had last night’s left over chilli stored away for the journey and with Em’s benediction in the hall of her home we were on the road again.  After a fifteen minute walk we decided to show our hitchhiking sign for Cardiff and to our amazement had a lift to Newport organised in less than two minutes!

Story 16

We were picked up by a Labour councillor (New Labour) in his MG and, having explained our “mission”, began a wide-ranging dialogue about children and young people and the role of a local council in understanding and responding to youth issues. 

After a minor disagreement between us over SATS and education, our host mentioned what his council responsibilities were in relation to young people.  He was well aware of the way in which roads and community layout had devastated opportunities for play and the freedom of association for young people on the street.  It was interesting to note that the teenage shelter (a place for young people to meet out of the rain) that his council had installed, in his view, had worked well.  It had been up for three years and, “You can tell from the graffiti that the kids use it well!” 

Our host was also keen to ensure that adults who complained about young people were listened to, but reminded that they had been young once too!  Voluntary groups did not seem too active in his locality – he had no sense of church based work – which seemed a shame.  His overall philosophy seemed to be that, provided you can cope with the four or five years of adolescent turbulence, most young people would make the transition into adulthood okay.

It was another ten minutes’ wait before we got a lift from Nas who was running ten minutes late for an interview in Cardiff. We were so glad he found the time to give us a lift and prayed for him – as he dropped us on the edge of Cardiff – that the interview went well.

We walked to Cardiff Bay and enjoyed the sun on the sea.  Just when we started to develop coffee withdrawal we were rescued by Lee!  Lee was a youth worker in Cardiff who I had met in Oxford the other week. Having told him that we were going to be in Cardiff and given him my mobile number, I had forgotten our contact!  Lee took us for coffee and suggested he take us to a project near Barry that he had worked his placement in – The Amelia Trust…

This is the last of the episodes we are publishing. If you would like to read about the whole journey, a booklet called “Hope – Stories from the Road” containing all the stories is now available from Frontier Youth Trust on 0121 687 3505 at £5 (+50p P&P) all proceeds go to ‘Talent – Young People in Action Trust Fund’.

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