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THE VALLEYS

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    Rhondda Valley, South Wales. Kathrine and Amy are best friends. They feel that life in the Valleys is rough and they both want to leave after finishing University.
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    Rhondda Valley, Wales.
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    Matt just moved to the Rhondda Valley in Wales. He loves being close to the beauty of nature.
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    South Wales Valley, Wales.
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    South Wales Valley, South Wales
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    Treorchy, South Vales Valleys. Students singing at the Treorchy Gospel Hall.
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    Cadets, Rhondda Valley, Wales. Boys and girls enroll in cadet school at a very young age.
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    Lucy, Rhondda, Wales. Lucy's parents run an expanding family business and she loves living in the Rhondda Valleys.
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    Soaring rents prevent residents from maintaining one of the few teenage facilities in the area in Ferndale, Wales. Kids ride the tracks just before the skate and bike park was to be closed.
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    Pontneddfechm waterfalls, Neath Valley, South Wales. A boy is tired after a long day of swimming by the waterfalls.
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    Rhondda Valley, South Wales.
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    Aberbargoed, South Wales Valley. Andrew just got out of rehab, but life back home is difficult and he has started drinking again.
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    Boxing club, Rhondda, Wales. The run-down facilities don't keep the members of the club away.
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    Rhondda Valley, South Wales.
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    Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales.
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    Nick has just moved to Rhondda Valley. He shares a spot in the hills with other travelers who want to live a simple life in touch with nature. They cherish the close-knit community of the old mining town.
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    Brecon Becon, South Wales.
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    Rural scene, The Valleys, Wales.
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    Aberdare Valley, South Wales. David is addicted to drugs and spends his days on the streets of Aberdare.
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    This is the day after Kathrine tried to commit suicide. Teenage suicidal rates are alarming in the Valleys and ranks among the highest in the UK in general.
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    Aberdare, South Wales Valley. Oidins lives in Aberdare, one of the roughest valleys in Wales. He has a history as a heroin addict, but managed to get his life back on track. He has his own apartment, but prefers to live with his mother.
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    Michael, Fernadle, Wales. The unemployment rate in the Valleys is the highest in Wales and the majority of workers commute to Cardiff. Michael has been trying to get a job for a long time now, and he is tired of getting his applications rejected. He works out every day to keep himself fit, hoping to find work as a model.
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    Clydach vale, Tonypandy. South Wales Valleys. One of the Valleys many soccer teams, Cwm Rhomdda fc, taking hot shower after loosing their match.
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    Dancing at The Banks, a popular disco among young people in Rhondda Valleys, South Wales.
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    Rhondda Valley, South Wales.
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    Smoking outside the pub, Rhondda, Wales. The drinking culture of South Wales Valley is intrinsically linked to the industrial heritage of the region. The majority of pubs were built during the industrial revolution.
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    Abigale (15) and Richard (16) plan to have a baby. They are both on welfare and lack ambitions regarding the future, except building a family together which will bring in more financial support. Teenage pregnancies are common in the Valleys.
The Valleys

South Wales Valleys, known locally as “The Valleys,” is the former industrial area of South Wales in the UK and is currently home to around 30 percent of the Welsh population. It is also the poorest region in Wales. Despite receiving a high level of financial support from the EU, The Valleys recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of Brexit. The Valleys had been a particular target of EU Regional Policy funding due to its classification as a “less developed region” where GDP was less than 75 percent of the EU average. And yet, on June 23, 2016, every single region in the Valley voted Leave. The effects of this shift could have dire consequences for the region as a whole.

The scenic countryside was first inhabited during the industrialization of the UK, and it was at this time that the characteristic workers’ houses were built. After this period, The Valleys coal mine industry boomed. When Margaret Thatcher took office as prime minister in 1979 and opened the UK to free market policies, many problems arose for the state-owned mining industry. When Thatcher announced plans to close the majority of the coal mines in 1984-85, miners across the country went on strike. Ultimately, the strike failed and all the mines were closed, resulting in unemployment rates rising to some of the highest in the UK. Drug abuse, alcoholism and educational drop-out rates rose as well. The destinies of the people of The Valleys are the legacy of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain and illustrate the conflicts that arise when a society that is built on industry meets right-wing political reality. Today, The Valleys are a shadow of what they once were. There are many who live difficult lives, but there is also a strong sense of community and warmth between people who are trying to get the valleys to rise again.

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