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Today We Live (1937)


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The work of the National Council of Social Service in providing village halls and occupational centres.

The countryside used to be the wealth of Britain, but the wealth of the nation shifted from the village (derelict cottages) to the town (smoking chimneys, tenement houses near coal pits, trains, factories).

After World War I, some men return to their former jobs in factories. Others, disabled from the war, become street musicians or sell matches. The 1929 slump produces mass unemployment, and although many men have since returned to work, war-disabled men are still on the streets.

In a depressed area in a Welsh mining valley, mean search among the slag heaps. An unemployed miner meets his colleagues in a cafe where they hear a broadcast on the radio about grants for occupational centres available from National Council of Social Service.

In a Gloucestershire village, a prominent member sets about applying to the National Council of Social Service for a grant to turn a barn into a community hall.

The miners send off their application. A representative of the Council visits the miners and tells them they will have to raise part of the money themselves.

To raise their part of the money, the Gloucestershire villagers decide to hold a whist drive. Meanwhile, a football match is played to raise money for the miners occupational centre.

Work goes ahead on the two buildings. In their new centre, the miners learn shoe repairing and carpentry. The villagers hold keep fit classes, amateur dramatics and country dancing in their hall.

The miners elect a committee to draw up a programme of activities. An official of the National Council tells the committee about an instruction centre where two of their members can go and receive tuition in running an occupational centre. One of the members points out that it is not real work they are doing, but he is told that it is better than doing nothing; even if work comes, they will still need the club.

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