It amazes me sometimes….where I live I mean. Merthyr Tydfil has been given a seriously bad wrap over the years and you people out there who think they know our little town have no idea just how awesome a place this is.
I’m no Merthyrite born and bred. In truth I never imagined this would be the place I’d live and work and bring up my children. So I’m not looking through rose tinted specs I’m not seeing a place and talking from some inbuilt loyalty to her home. Instead I know this place like an outsider but when you get on the inside like I have you begin to see this town has real greatness at it’s heart.
It makes me sad that this place has gained such a bad reputation based on the poor choices and lifestyles of just a few. I think about how the world out there gets to see our town often through the camera lens that focuses on those few that keep the likes of jeremy kyle in business. But they miss the real Merthyr Tydfil….the children who despite the poverty they may endure make it to school everyday and work hard, the hard working men and women of our town who work tirelessly to support their families without the support of benefits, the kind hearted individuals who make efforts to care for those who feel unsupported and unloved in the community.
Merthyr Tydfil has an amazing history. When outrageous programmes were made by channel 4 about our town they missed out the past life of Merthyr. Channel 4 missed out the fact this town, the one now known for benefits scroungers, was once the end of the rainbow….. the place once upon time dreams were made where everyone came to make their fortune. We thrived, we more than thrived we were a success iron, steel, coal Merthyr was busting with industry. From the imposing Cyfarthfa iron works to Dowlais Steel works they employed and empowered whole families …. no whole communities.
Channel 4 missed as well the slow degeneration of that industry the struggle, the heartache and the horror felt by many as Merthyr’s industry’s were closed, shipped to far off lands or just disappeared before their eyes.
Today Merthyr Tydfil is a growing town. I’m not going to pretend it’s all rosy. There are a lot of people rightly or wrongly being supported by benefits. There are some individuals who have issues but none of these things define our beautiful town. If anyone takes the time to visit here you’ll discover a community with a massive heart. Our town is; the young people who enjoy saying hello to me their teacher as I shop in our local cente, the local business men and women desperately trying to keep the heart of the town centre thriving often in the face of corporate out of town shopper adversity, the big hearted generosity of those donating to local charities like the donation station where we the community support each other in the tough times.
When I tell people I live in Merthyr Tydfil I wait for the response and the look of worry that I live in what someone once described to me as a ‘rough’ neighbourhood. My town, Merthyr Tydfil, to some may be rough but from the darkest roughest black coal come the most beautiful diamonds. Unfortunately TV producers resolve to trot out the rough coal like members of our community who go no way to represent our truely magnificent town. They instead disregard the many many diamonds that sparkle here in Merthyr Tydfil. We are a community of diamonds that sparkle and shine each and everyday. That is the real Merthyr Tydfil.