The south Wales valleys are known for their tight-knit and strong communities, now a new BBC Wales show, Full House, explores one venue in the Rhondda Valleys at the heart of one of those communities and gets to know the people who visit there – Tonypandy‘s bingo hall Judges.
While the imposing building next to the railway station may not look much from the outside, Judges is a hive of fun activity on the inside. From grandparents and grandchildren, to work dos and parents escaping the night for a date, everyone and anyone can enjoy a night at this bingo hall.
But Full House, which begins on Friday, September 23 at 8.50pm on BBC One Wales, is not just about bingo, but it gives us a glimpse into the daily lives and stories of those who visit and as you’d expect, there’s some emotional stories to be found, including that of young tattoo artist, Tammy, who’s experiencing early menopause and a hard-working couple who run a cleaning business, inspired by the death of a someone very close to them.
21-years-old, Tammy is a tattoo shop owner alongside her dad AJ, and Tammy has endometriosis.
Not currently able to work due to the pain endometriosis causes her, she says on some days she can’t get out of bed. She said: “I literally can’t remember the last time that I wasn’t in pain. I’m constantly drained and tired because I’m always just fighting against myself.”
Dad, AJ, is worried about her not being able to work. He said: “Since she hasn’t been able to come to work at all, I worry about her coping…being so young and fragile I worry about how she is going to cope being ill.”
Because of the condition Tammy has had to go into early menopause and became emotional while speaking about the possibility she might not be able to have children. She said: “The thought about not being able to have children it does…” and beginning to cry she said: “It’s horrible really thinking that maybe I’ll never be able to have a family of my own.”
Also at Judges enjoying a game of housie are Debbie and her wife Tina, who are treating their work team to a night out at the bingo. Debbie set up her cleaning business, which has gone from strength to strength, for a very personal reason.
Debbie explained she set up the business after her mother, who had a habit of hoarding, died and Debbie saw the effect this had on her, leading her to set up a cleaning business to help others in the same position.
She said: “I opened it because my mother passed away. My mother was a hoarder so my father asked me when she passed away if I would go in…because he just didn’t want to live in the clutter anymore.”
Debbie explained how helping her dad motivated her to open her own business. She said: “So I went in and I helped him and I’d seen how much it changed his life and how so much better he felt.”
“My mother was always immaculately dressed…people who lived in her street didn’t know my mother was a hoarder. You can’t really tell until you actually try to get through the front door.”
Debbie wants to help others, she said: “I’ve lived it…I’ve actually lived a hoarding life. I have got an understanding of how overwhelming it can be for clients. I’ll take them by the hand and help them be able to let go.”
While neither Tammy nor Debbie won at the bingo, Debbie did have some good news for her work team. They had made it through to the finals of the Welsh Business awards and are all planning on going to Cardiff for the awards ceremony.