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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
The role of community
Dr John Morgans
By Reverend John Morgans

As part of BBC Wales regeneration public lecture series, Reverend John Morgans spoke on the Role of Community in Community Regeneration at Cardiff University on Wednesday at 1800 BST.

Chairman of the Penrhys Partnership, Rev Morgans and colleagues have worked tirelessly to address social problems on the estate in the Rhondda Valleys.

What is regeneration? Re-birth? Renewal? Development?

The issues are complex and different for each area: Tylorstown, Llanidloes, Manselton, Penylan, Penrhys - all these are places or communities in which I have had the privilege of living.

How do we describe community? An amorphous term, recognised and experienced in Under Milk Wood - but impossible to define.

Rural Wales enjoyed strong community life although families were based on individual farms or labourers' cottages with walking or riding distance to market, school, chapel or parish church.

The Valleys, based on King Coal developed their community through work and developing every facility within walking distance.

And the city itself? The home of civilised living, the home of the opera house and the football stadium, of defensive space and the favella. Is it a community?

How do we describe community? An amorphous term, recognised and experienced in Under Milk Wood - but impossible to define.

It is something to do with quality of life, the ability to make common connections, where relationships are seen as paramount, where there are shared stories of memories, aspirations, fears, apprehensions, celebrations.

Community is where one does not live in isolation.

So about Penrhys. Is it a housing estate or a community? What would we like to the story of Penrhys to be? Most of us enjoy stories with a happy ending but not all stories have a happy ending.

What is certain is that the story of Penrhys is one worth telling.

It is a critical story if we are to enhance community life and experience regeneration.

Reverend John Morgans
"Community is where one does not live in isolation"

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