After almost a year spent with the Creu Cyffro programme – delivered by Wellbeing Merthyr and funded by the UK Government via its Community Renewal Fund – our role on the evaluation has drawn to a close.
Led by Drs Ellie Farmahan and Eva Elliott, of Straeon Research, the full evaluation report is available here where an executive summary is also available.
Creu Cyffro translates from the Welsh as ‘creating excitement’, and the title of this article – a quote from one of the delivery partners – reflects how the programme sparked a light beneath people’s creative passions.
Our role was to lead on:
- the Welsh language elements of the evaluation
- production of podcast community media that was part of the evaluation framework
- build capacity among project partners and participants in podcasting
The Creu Cyffro podcast channel is below and there’s a range of episodes (in English and Welsh) with project partners describing what they were doing as part of the programme, as well as an insight into why we wanted to include podcasts in the evaluation framework.
Creu Cyffro and social capital
We delivered two capacity building sessions during the programme and a further session (not part of Creu Cyffro) to a young people’s participation project and it provided a useful insight into the concept of social capital among younger people.
Briefly, young people tend to still live at home and spend a large amount of time with other young people (at school, college, playing sport, hanging out); they can be said to have strong bonding social capital, i.e., the ties between members of the same social environment. In a recent paper, Rodrigues-Soler and Verd (2023) note that groups with strong bonding social capital tend to have similar access to resources (financial, cultural, social etc.). However, given that areas of socio-economic disadvantage tend to maintain a higher proportion of bonding contacts, it is therefore reasonable to assume that in a town such as Merthyr Tydfil, people with a disadvantaged social background will be poorer in resources because of their similar characteristics (“people like us”).
There is a parallel between what Rodrigues-Soler and Verd note in employability support for young people and what Creu Cyffro was aiming to do in the arts and cultural activity: the importance of contacts and opportunities in building bridging and linking social capital for people, i.e., weaker (in comparison to bonding) ties between people who do share different social environments but have a similar status (‘bridging’); and the ties that exist in hierarchies and those contexts where one finds differences in status (‘linking’).
Though not an overt objective of the programme, it is clear that Creu Cyffro invested in social capital in Merthyr Tydfil and that in the context of the young people’s group, investing in their capacity to create local community media can help improve representation of young people in news as well as reflecting the interests of young people in what defines news in the first place. Radio Platfform was already working in the area, but the longer term goal of a community radio station for Merthyr and its environs can help sustain this, particularly if young people are given the opportunity to shape the voice of that station.
Rodríguez-Soler, J., and Verd, J. (2023) Informal social capital building in local employment services: Its role in the labour market integration of disadvantaged young people, Social Policy & Administration, 57(2) pp.1-21, https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12900