Volunteer Blog: Josephine on the Power of Community Action

WCIA Volunteer Josephine Ayling is based in Bangor, and over the COVID Lockdown has been supporting WCIA’s team remotely with exploring the ‘Peace Heritage’ story of CND Cymru – the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

WCIA Volunteer Josephine Ayling

When I first contacted WCIA about volunteering to help with the ‘Heddwch’ magazine digitisation project, my knowledge of CND Cymru and the Anti-Nuclear movement was admittedly pretty limited. Getting the chance to explore the archives, while helping to make them more accessible to other people, seeemed like a perfect opportunity to learn more.

Many hours, and over forty ‘Heddwch’ editions later, I feel really lucky to have helped pay tribute to the determination, resilience and compassion of CND Cymru members, that shines through with each and every Heddwch publication.

During the summer of 2020, four decades worth of CND Cymru’s publications were digitised by volunteers. It became my responsibility (alongside two other volunteers) to index these publications – creating a list of contents for each magazine edition, as well as adding relevant tags. The aim was to make the CND Cymru archives more easy to access and navigate, enabling CND members, researchers and anybody wanting to know more about the Welsh anti-nuclear movement, to find specific articles and stories of interest.

The publications I looked at included ‘Heddwch’ editions 16-30, spanning the years 1998 to 2003, and editions 46-74, which covered 2008 all the way up to Spring 2020. It was fascinating to be able to follow the progression of specific campaigns, such as those fighting against development at Wylfa, Hinkley Point, and Trawsfynydd nuclear power stations, as they unfolded over the years – as it revealed the power of continued local and community action.

The archives also highlight the global reach of CND Cymru’s work, particularly in their active support of peace campaigners from around the world, including those from Japan, Syria, Palestine and the Jeju Islands.

As we celebrate the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty coming into force in January 2021, I think it’s a very apt reminder of what such an international and outward-looking approach to nuclear disarmament can achieve.