Ross Hartland of Initiate along with Aled Williams and Julie Golden of Awen, led workshops at the schools where pupils used a variety of arts and craft materials, and an abundance of creativity and fun, to build models of their vision for the new children’s area of the library when the Hall reopens, following its £8m redevelopment.

The pupils’ ideas will be used to inform the design options for the space, which will feature a large multi-purpose seating area. It is hoped that this structure can be manufactured by the staff and trainees at Wood-B, Awen’s carpentry project for adults with disabilities based at Tondu.

Ross Hartland, of Initiate, said:

“It was so fun and valuable for us, as architects, to engage with local children as the co-designers for their new children’s library space at the Town Hall. The creativity of the children knew no bounds, and to see them transform paper straws, lolly-pop sticks and cardboard into imaginative ideas for what the space could become was inspiring.

As adults it’s not enough to assume how children may use a space designed for them, and these co-design workshops have given us a joyful understanding of what children associate with fun, excitement, comfort and play. We are inspired to do the children’s ideas justice in our emerging design, no pressure…!”

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, the registered charity which is working in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council to redevelop Maesteg Town Hall, said:

“Who better to help us design the new children’s library space than the young people from the local community who are going to use it? The involvement of children in a project like this brings a new level of curiosity, imagination and honesty, and a fresh perspective on how this space should look and feel. I cannot wait to see their ideas and find ways to develop and incorporate them into our final plans over the coming months.”

Ruth Davies-McHugh, Year 5 teacher at Ysgol Cynwyd Sant said:

“Gweithdy a phrofiad bythgofiadwy sy’n rhoi pwrpas i’r dysgu, mewn cyd-destun dilys.” (“A workshop we’ll always remember that gave purpose and context to learning.”)

Jonathan Desmond, Year 6 teacher at Cwmfelin Primary School added:

“The children thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to help plan the new library children’s area in such a fun, practical and imaginative way. I even had requests for a shorter breaktime so they could spend more time working on their designs!”