Council wants Welsh language to be ‘part of everyone’s lives’ within a decade
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
Newport City Council has said it wants the Welsh language to be part of everyone’s lives within the next ten years.
It has published a draft plan aiming to increase the number of Welsh speakers in Newport through education, visibility and employment.
A public consultation into the draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan opened on Monday, September 27, allowing residents to have their say on the plans.
Councillor Jason Hughes, the council’s Welsh language champion, said: “We want residents to be a part of this process as this will be a long-term strategy to bring Welsh into everyone’s lives.
“Welsh is living, vibrant and vital and we want to ensure that all residents, whatever their age, have the opportunity to learn and speak their national tongue. Our message is to see, hear, learn, use and love the language. Let us know if you think our draft plan will help us achieve that ambition.”
Currently 20.5% of people in Newport can speak fluent Welsh, placing the local authority in 15th out of 22, just below Swansea.
Council leader Jane Mudd said the council aims to increase the number of places in Welsh-medium schools within the next ten years.
Following the opening of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Gwenlli this month, Newport now has four Welsh-medium primary schools.
Ysgol Gyfun Gwent Is Coed opened in 2017 and is Newport’s only Welsh-medium secondary school.
‘One million Welsh speakers’
Cllr Mudd said: “We recognise there is still more we can do to help achieve the national target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050 and increase the percentage of those who use the language every day.
“We want our national language to be part of the fabric of the city, woven into every aspect of people’s lives. The draft plan is the next step to making that ambition become a reality and we want to know what you think of it.”
In 2017, the Welsh Government created its Cymraeg 2050 strategy, which aims to reach one million Welsh speakers and double the daily use of Welsh by the year 2050.
The council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Deborah Davies, said young people are the key to the future of the Welsh language.
Cllr Davies said: “It is a gift they will have for the rest of their lives.
“Welsh is not just something that should be preserved and treasured as a significant part of our heritage, but something that should be nurtured so it can continue to flourish and enrich lives in the 21 century.”
The public consultation on the plan will be open until November 22.
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