Family Fostering Partners, based in South Wales, commissioned the animated Welsh-language piece to explore the potential for a series of cartoons.
The cartoon’s development is the start of a much broader campaign, that will see the main characters “Bwtwns” and “Blw” feature in a suite of resources which will be made available to fostered children through an online portal, currently under development, including e-books. Family Fostering Partners commissioned two celebrated Welsh poets to write three ‘therapeutic’ stories to work from, with one intended for the cartoon pilot, while the other two will become supporting eBooks.
The project has been part-funded by the Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 initiative programme.
Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said:
We want the use of Welsh to be a routine part of everyday life so that speakers at all levels feel confident in using it in formal and informal situations. Encouraging families to use Welsh is a vital part of this. It is especially important for foster families where children are first language Welsh speakers and will find it much easier to adjust to their new surroundings if they are able to use their Welsh
‘Bwtwns a Blw’ is one of many Cymraeg 2050 projects that will make it easier for people to use the language, whether face to face in the community and in the workplace or through digital platforms.
Curon Howells, Business Development Manager for Family Fostering Partners said:
We’re incredibly excited about seeing Bwtwm and Blw being brought to life on the small screen, not least of all because we believe that the animations are the first of their kind to offer Looked After children the opportunity and choice to access videos with a therapeutic theme in the Welsh language.
We want to normalise the concept of foster care and foster families, encouraging more people to consider becoming foster carers for vulnerable children in Wales. We’re looking at ways of opening up access to the brand, so other organisations, learning establishments and foster homes can contribute to this vital campaign.
The characters Bwtwns (a child) and Blw (an adult) are based on elephant characters that were initially created as part of the agency’s branding, even making it to toy form.
Curon explains why they chose elephants to lead the branding and the stories:
“As a relatively new but growing independent fostering agency, Bwtwns and Blw have a special place in our hearts. They have been an integral part of the agency since its inception. While creating our brand, we recognised that elephants in the wild are great parents who will take collective responsibility for the young of the herd. This fact is an excellent parallel for foster carers who share the task of caring for Looked After Children. Bwtwns and Blw’s first incarnation were actually as stuffed toys designed and created by the Managing Director, Judith Rees’ mother!”
Jammy Custard’s Creative Director and Lead Animator Matthew Creed reflected on the potential success of the project for all involved:
“To have the support and confidence of Family Fostering Partners to carry out this work is a great honour. They’ve been great to work with. The Jammy’s team, in particular, Kyle, who has been leading the creative direction for this project, are incredibly excited to be working on a commissioned cartoon which is not only great fun but holds real value for the audience. The storylines have been simple but effective, and we know what style of visual we’re trying to achieve. It’s a fascinating project, and we can’t wait to share it.”
Curon of Family Fostering Partners concluded:
“Seeing the work that Jammy Custard have done to transform Bwtwns and Blw from our original stuffed animals to animated characters has been a wonderful experience, and we can’t wait to share the final project with the world!”
The official launch of the campaign, including the cartoon pilot will be on the 11th of April.
His new live project is much more dynamic, working alongside ‘5th Spear’ a solo artist with a huge electronic sound and live drums, Matthew now stands on stage and performs the visuals live as a VJ, meaning the visuals are even more of a performance instead of a careful orchestrated event. After already playing a few gigs, including a huge turnout at Swn Festival 2015 and a headline slot at FreeForAll Festival 2016, this is an exciting new venture exploring the realms of interactive and dynamic visual performance.