Hip-hop, town twinning and ice-cream: Getting Wales’ young people excited about heritage

Hip-hop, town twinning and ice-cream: Getting Wales’ young people excited about heritage

As we celebrate the rights of children and young people on National Children’s Day 2015, Sally Roberts, HLF Development Officer, takes a look at all the amazing things young people have done to protect their heritage across Wales with our help and the endless possibilities that are out there for those who want to get involved.

“What does heritage mean to you?” That’s the first question I ask young people when I meet them as part of my work. Usual answers include 'something old', 'the past' or 'ancient buildings'. Given a little nudge though, and once you get them talking, young people’s understanding of heritage can take you in all sorts of unexpected directions.

Through our Young Roots programme we’ve been helping young people across the country do just that; find their heritage and discover what it means to them. We’ve seen amazing things happen when Wales’ young people have taken the lead and explored their past. They’ve discovered that it can truly be about anything and when they’ve been handed the reigns to explore something that’s important to them, they bring so much energy and enthusiasm that it’s impossible not to feel their passion about their projects.

From exploring why Llanelli has long standing connections with its twinned town in France, to the origins of Joe’s Ice Cream in Swansea to looking at the Princes of Gwynedd through a hip-hop lens, young people in Wales are interested in their heritage and we are here to help them delve deeper. These successful and diverse projects reflect what is important to children in Wales, helping them show pride in their heritage whilst gaining so many useful skills, giving them qualifications that will help them into the workplace. We want to help them be engaged with their heritage, stay engaged with their heritage and encourage others in the future to engage with heritage.

After all, they’re the guardians of our heritage for future generations, so why not help us encourage our future guardians to get involved? We’re open to all sorts of ideas, big or small, and are here to help you make a difference to your community. So hopefully, when I ask “what does heritage mean to you” in the future, I’ll hear that it isn’t just about the old castle in your town or about the history of your local church, it’s about what makes you, you and what has made your community what it is today.