A performing arts group has made a dramatic comeback with the support of a community fundraising organization.
Conwy Valley and North West Wales Coast Community Rail Partnership and Transport for Wales (TfW) stepped in to help Maes-G ShowZone in Maesgeirchen, Bangor, when they needed a grant to help pay for new equipment during the pandemic.
Led by Steffie and Eirian Williams Roberts and Naomi Crane, the group launched in September 2020 and immediately attracted over 25 local children.
Fast forward two years and they now have up to 50 young people attending their bi-weekly sessions at Eglwys y Groes Parish Hall, a testament to the hard work and determination of Eirian and the team.
“Maes-G Showzone started about 15 years ago in the housing estate, but unfortunately closed when funding dried up,” she said.
“My wife Steffie had attended the original ShowZone when she was younger and during the early months of Covid-19 we sat at the kitchen table and discussed the possibility of reopening it, given the impact that self-isolation and lockdown had on the kids here.
“In that first year, they were only with us for three months, we managed to perform an online Christmas carol concert, but our big plans for a variety show at Pontio in Bangor were scrapped, until until we finally managed to do this last October at a reduced price. public for two nights.
Steffie added: “As the restrictions started to ease, we started to see more parents getting on board and more kids wanting to join; so much so that we have an ever-growing waiting list.
“With the support of organizations such as Conwy Valley and North West Wales Coast Community Rail Partnership, we have been able to purchase much needed equipment.
“At the moment our members are working hard to rehearse their Christmas panto and in January will start rehearsals for our next Big Variety Show in July next year – we can’t thank our supporters enough.”
ShowZone strives to provide access to the performing arts for all children by keeping activities affordable and reducing costs for families.
“The funding and generosity of our community has made all the difference, when we see how much the children appreciate it, how much confidence they have gained, it’s the only payment we need as volunteers said Eirian.
“Our members are incredibly hardworking and have earned a good reputation with everyone who has worked with them in the entertainment industry. They are a credit not only to the Maesgeirchen community, but also to the community at large.
“We aim to ensure that no child is left behind, and with more and more people wanting to join us, the future of Maes-G Showzone looks bright. However, we cannot keep the open house without subsidies and without the continued support of the community.
Community Rail Constable Karen Williams congratulated the volunteers on their success and hopes they will have the opportunity to join forces again in the future.
She added: “This is a shining example of an organization giving back to its community, uniting people of all ages and making a real difference.
“We are delighted to have been able to play a role in their development and wish them the best of luck for their upcoming shows.”
Partnership funding is available for community organizations located within five miles of a Transport for Wales (TfW) station along the Conwy Valley and North West Wales coast lines (Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Llandudno Junction at Holyhead).
Eligible applicants can submit an offer until mid-October, with up to £1,000 available. There is also a Greener Initiative funding scheme where groups within a one mile radius of a TfW station in the above areas can apply for up to £500.