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An oral history interview with Dan Fish, who is a volunteer with Studio 22 and Cathays Community Centre in Cardiff. Interview from the Riverside Festival in Cardiff on 20 August 2016.


The Chronicle Project is a community heritage project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and run by VCS Cymru with the aims to document the history of volunteering in Cardiff, from 1914 to 2014.

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DF = Dan Fish, LT = Lara Taffer (interviwer)

LT: So, if you could introduce yourself, tell me a little about yourself, your personal history, etc.

[Introductions and background - 0:14 to 0:28]

DF: My name is Dan Fish, I work for a small youth provision down on Hammond Way, and I also work for Cathays Community Centre as well… Teaching kids how to play their own music, compose, bands, compose their own music. All that stuff.

LT: How long have you been doing that?

DF: About a year and a half.[wind makes recording inaudible]

LT: And what kind of things do you think you are giving back to the community by volunteering with this organisation?

[Working with children and volunteering - 0:40 to 1:14]

DF: When you… when you work in general, because I wasn’t in youth work until I joined into this, this club kind of thing, and they got me a [inaudible] qualification and it’s been incredible for me, like, really life-changing for me. It’s a job that actually gives back, whereas my usual nine to five is nothing like that. But for the kids, it is absolutely brilliant because it gets them all to get in the same frame of mind. You know what I mean? Everyone’s exactly the same as soon as you walk through the door. You all got your role to fill, and hopefully, you will fill it properly. And that’s how you make good music.

LT: And what motivates you to volunteer with this organisation?

[Motivations to volunteer - 1:17 to 1:29]

DF: Making good music! All day! Yeah. I just love doing these little community events. We do most community events in Cardiff, alongside with churches and small groups like that. And they always ask for us.

LT: And how do you feel like you are giving back? Or do you?

DF: Giving back? Well we worked with a lot of vulnerable adults and kids that are in foster care, kids with special needs, that kind of thing. That’s a way of giving back I suppose.

LT: And did you start volunteering in response to a certain situation?

[Origins of volunteering - 1:51 to 2:11]

DF: Yeah, Brett Harper, he was my tutor, he found me completely down and out in a homeless shelter, asked me whether I could play any instruments, put a bass in my hand, and we continued from there. I started coming down there little and often, and we just grew trust and started getting me on the qualifications. I owe a lot.

LT: Have you done any events in town? Put on any shows?

DF: No, not in town. Not yet. That’s a big one that is. That’s more like St. David’s and The Globe and stuff we’d be doing.

LT: What kind of achievements have you guys… [trails off]

[Events and performances - 2:27 to 2:40]

DF: We make a lot of community events and a lot of parents, aunties, uncles, that kind of thing will all come up to us and say ‘my kid would absolutely love this.’ Where I’m looking after, and we show them the way on down.

LT: Anything else you want to add?

[Lamenting the loss of youth work provisions in Cardiff - 2:47 to 3:09]

DF: Only that there’s not many youth work provisions around anymore at all. And any specifically just for music, as far as I know, there’s us, our sister corporation which is Cathays Community Centre, and Grassroots in the middle of town. And… Grassroots… edit this bit out, but Grassroots are terrible. They’re our rivals!

LT: Why do you think that Cardiff needs a music organisation that’s heling kids get in touch with these kinds of things?

[Importance of music in society - 3:16 to 3:29]

DF: I just think that in Cardiff, Welsh people in general, really matter for their music. It just, sort of resonates. It really helps kids, as I say, who are a bit socially awkward or a bit wild, to sort of get together and work out some of their issues.

LT: Anything else? What do you enjoy most about it? I mean, I know you like making music, but is there something else that kind of… [trails off]

[Favorite parts about volunteering - 3:40 to 4:00]

DF: Ah, definitely. Once we’ve learned a song, or once they’ve composed their own song, and we play it live at a venue like this, right now we’re in… Waterloo… no it’s not Waterloo [indecipherable] not this is Riverside Gardens, isn’t it? Once we do it and then they’re on stage, and they get past their nerves, and the song comes out, that is what I love, that is the biggest buzz for me.

LT: You can tell! Your eyes just glow right now thinking about it. Is there, um, a favourite memory that you want to share about you working? Like a really great show you guys put on or anything like that?

DF: Every show is a great show! But no, there hasn’t been one specific that we’d really done it. But there are a couple of members that have really grown in the years. And watching them grow – those would been my best memories.

LT: And yeah, I think we’ve hit all the points.

DF: I’m out. Awesome.

LT: Cool, thank you.

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