We are Youth Cymru!

Youth Cymru is a National Voluntary Organisation, with over 80 years’ experience supporting young people and youth workers across Wales.

We work with over 400 members, to provide bespoke opportunities and programmes bettering the lives of young people in Wales.

Our History

The Welsh Association of Youth Clubs was one of the major voluntary youth organisations in Wales.

Commencing as a girls’ club, organisation, it owes is existence to the initiative of voluntary leaders who formed a number of independent local federations with the object of seeking mutual support.

The Ocean National Colliery Company played a leading role in forming boys’ clubs and girls’ clubs in the Rhondda, Garw and Monmouthshire Valleys, collectively comprising the Ocean National Federation. But elsewhere too, particularly in the “non-special areas,” it was the clubs themselves which formed their own federations with a view to seeking co-operation, discussing common problems, exchanging ideas, arranging, inter-clubs visits and providing services to their mutual advantage.

Two years after the formation of the Cardiff Federation, a meeting was convened by the National Council of Girls’ Clubs. This was held on the 25th of January 1936, at 33 Park Place, Cardiff, mainly as the result of a grant received from the Jubilee Trust by the National Council of Girls’ Clubs for work in the ‘special areas’. Representatives of federations and settlements were invited to attend this important meeting to consider the formation of a South Wales Association of Girls’ Clubs.

In addition to representatives from the federations, a number of other girls’ organisations were present at this historic meeting, but the records do not indicate whether they attended in order to secure membership, or merely to support.

In attendance:

Local Federations

  • Cardiff & District
  • Ocean National
  • Monmouthshire
  • South Wales Coalfields

Educational Settlements

  • Merthyr
  • Bargoed
  • Pontypool
  • Risca
  • Maes-yr-Haf, Rhondda.

Other Youth Organisations

  • The Girls’ Friendly Society
  • The Y.W.C.A
  • Urdd Gobaith Cymru’
  • South Wales Council of Boys’ Clubs
  • South Wales Council of Social Services


  • 1934-Cardiff Federation Formed
  • 1936-South Wales Council Formed
  • 1942-North Wales Council Formed
  • 1943-Welsh Divisional Committee Formed
  • 1954-Re-Organisation in South Wales
  • 1964-Merger of the three constituent bodies
  • 1970-1976-Many more statutory youth clubs sought membership.


Miss Warren, the Organising Secretary, of the National Secretary of the National Council of Girls’ Clubs addressed the meeting. She stated that the  Council of Girls’ Clubs in South Wales would provide an essential link between the federations and the National Council and make it possible for combined schemes to be offered, such as holidays, camps and training courses. Additionally, services could be provided for scattered clubs in areas where no federations, as well as the provision of opportunities for women in South Wales to undertake leadership training offered by the National Council.

The birth of this new organisation was not an easy one, and the Celtic trait of being concerned for local identity emerged, when the representative of the Pontypool Settlement stated that she was not in favour of forming a South Wales body, as her organisation, was perfectly capable of co-ordinating the work of local cubs.

In reply, the chairman pointed out that an Association would provide clubs with more scope for development, and prevent settlements from adopting a small minded attitude!

Originally, the major source of income was a proportion of the annual grant received by the National Council of Girls’ Clubs from the Jubilee Trust for work in the ‘special areas’ to be replaced later by a similar arrangement for the disposal of HQ grant received from the Ministry of Education. This initial financial support, apart from a small sum retained for administration, which was passed on to individual girls’ clubs.

Summer School

In 1954, Mr Edward (‘Ted’) Higgins, brought a new dimension to club work in the form of a ‘Summer School’ which he organised for club members and their families. For the next eighteen years, the Harlech Summer School became the focal point for all activities.

A feature of The Harlech Summer Schools in 1958 and 1959 was the production of what quickly became known as “The Chronicles”.

Composed daily in Biblical language by Islwyn Jones and Owen Picton, their production was eagerly anticipated, as were the evening “readings” in the great hall.

Junior Summer School

In 1972, it was noticed with some concern, that an increasing number of young people under fourteen years of age were now attending affiliated clubs, and in an endeavour to provide for this age group, the first Junior Summer School was planned and directed by Mr. Peter John, West Wales Regional Officer at Coleg Trefeca, Breconshire, when forty junior members thoroughly enjoyed a week’s programme of arts and crafts, music, drama and pony trekking.

In 1973, the second summer school was held at the same venue. The high sprits and the infectious enthusiasm of the youngsters was not only shared during this memorable week, but taken back to their own clubs, and it was noticeable that the clubs involved reflected this influence in their programme of activities.

What we're here for...

We work collaboratively with our members and other youth facing organisation to provide unique, innovative and life-changing opportunities, projects and programmes, bettering the lives of young people in Wales.

The futures of our young people are bright!

Young people in Wales are confident and strong, empowered to fulfil their potential and to contribute to building the Wales we want.

This is everything we stand for.

We believe that young people are citizens and rights holders. All our work is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in line with the Rights of Children and Young Person’s Measure (Wales) 2011.

We believe that youth work changes lives. We are committed to equality and inclusion; we challenge prejudice and discrimination.We believe that youth work has a vital role to play in building the Wales we want. We shape our work to contribute to the seven Well-being Goals set out in the Well-being of Future Generations

In short... You.

We are for all young people in Wales, and for all those organisations, volunteers and professional staff, who support them.

Besides the work our amazing team do? Well...

We work through a network of local and regional organisations that support young people throughout Wales. These are primarily statutory and voluntary youth work organisations, but include other organisations supporting young people, such as training providers, youth offending services and alternative curriculum provisions.

Many of our member organisations are based in Wales’ poorest communities as defined by the Wales Index of Multiple Deprivation. We work in partnership with our members and with others supporting young people in Wales.

We work through the British– Irish Strategic Youth Partnership with our partners Youth Scotland, Youth Work Ireland, Youth Action Northern Ireland and UK Youth to improve the lives of young people across Britain and Ireland, and learn from youth work experiences across Europe through our membership of the European Confederation of Youth Clubs. Our work is shaped by what young people tell us about what they want and need.

Five campaigning youth work charities committed to social action, to make England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the best possible places for young people to flourish.

Inspiring young people

Promoting youth work

Connecting young people

Challenging inequalities

UK Youth, Youth Scotland, Youth Cymru, Youth Action Northern Ireland and Youth Work Ireland are five leading youth work charities, working locally, regionally and nationally to improve the life chances of young people throughout the UK and Ireland.

We have relationships spanning 100 years.

  • Youth Achievement Awards
  • Local, regional and national partnerships
  • Press statements
  • Research and publications
  • Big Music Project / Irish Youth Music Awards
  • Collaboration on training and practice
  • British / Irish Symposium on youth affairs
  • Erasmus +
  • Social media campaigns
  • UK Youth Voice
  • Challenge governments to listen to young people
  • Youth polls
  • Think tanks
  • Jobs for young people
  • Share learning
  • New ventures in the UK and Ireland

Together we are striving to increase the understanding of the impact of youth work and strengthen cooperation and advocacy actions of the five partners. This agreement is in tune with contemporary British and Irish political alliances and is relevant to national and local interests. We seek to increase our collective ability to shape policy and legislative changes, as well as energising young people to be more mobile and to work collaboratively on areas of interest.

This agreement is built on the values of inclusion, participation equity and respect, with young people at the heart. It is the outcome of a British / Irish symposium on youth affairs, held on 23rd-24th October 2013 with young people, volunteers, staff and Board members of the five organisations.

This partnership is intended to support and inspire everyone in our network.

And we couldn't do any of this without our amazing partners and funders