NUMBER 106 11 SEPTEMBER 2002 SHOWING THAT LIFE CAN BE ENJOYABLE
INDEX OF QUOTES
The two main criticisms which were levelled at Tyn-y-Pwll during the years in question, were contrasting but linked.
The first criticism, which usually came when Edward was addressing groups of magistrates and councillors at conferences, was that Tyn-y-Pwll was allowing delinquent children to enjoy themselves. In fact, he did not then and never had, made any apology for allowing the young people who came to Tyn-y-Pwll to enjoy themselves. During the time the project was in operation, there were very few young people who did not respond to the consistent care and affection which was offered to them. Evidence suggests that the short, sharp, shock treatment which is often advocated is actually unsuccessful, and the research and follow-up work completed during the last few years, indicates that deprived children, in fact, responded much better to the care and affection approach such as was offered at Tyn-y-Pwll, rather than to the very authoritarian treatment which has been the hallmark of the detention centres.
The other main criticism, which was linked to the first, usually came from either the young people themselves, or in some cases, their social workers. This was to the effect that Tyn-y-Pwll was offering young people a short period of care and affection and would then expect them to return to the rather bleak environments from which they may have come. The staff were much readier to acknowledge the truth of this criticism, and yet in discussion it was often compared with the question, Why allow children all the happiness and excitement of Christmas when the rest of the year could be something of an anti-climax? What they hoped they were doing was showing young people that life can be enjoyable, and perhaps giving them some enthusiasm for going out and making greater efforts on their behalf.
It was, however, linked to the vexed problems of ending the course and the staff were very aware this was inevitably going to be a problem for some of the young people. It was therefore something which was discussed almost from the very first meeting of the course, and it was pointed out quite clearly that the course had got limits in terms of time and at the end of this time the young people would be returned either to the environment from which they came or, in some cases to a different environment. Either way it was quite clear that the environment to which they were returning would not be the same as that which they were experiencing at Tyn-y-Pwll.
* Tyn-y-Pwll ("House in the Hollow") was a stone farmhouse in North Wales which served more than 300 young people as a short-term residential centre between 1971 and 1977
Donohue, E. (1985) Echoes in the Hills: Tyn-y-Pwll. Surbiton: Social Care Association, pp.83-84