New S4C series aims to encourage people thinking of moving to Wales to embrace the language and culture
A new S4C series turns the spotlight on the housing crisis in Welsh communities in a new series which launches this evening, 21 September.
Symud i Gymru (Moving to Wales) follows couples from outside Wales who are considering moving to locations, including Anglesey, Aberystwyth, and Gwynedd and with the help of local guides aims to help them make an informed decision about moving to Wales.
Each couple will get the unique experience of being immersed in the culture and bilingualism, as well as being told about the difficulties facing local people and their communities.
They will also see some of the houses that are for sale in the area, before making the big decision at the end of the programme – will they move to Wales?
The Symud i Gymru guides in Anglesey are Dan and Bethan Jones, who run Cybi Brewery. They try to get their customers to give the Welsh language a go and do everything bilingually.
In their opinion, Welsh speakers should encourage the people who move into the communities and “teach them in a way they don’t notice that they’re getting a lesson.”
Despite this, Bethan had some concerns about the reaction of taking part in a programme like this:
“At the beginning we were worried that people would think we were two-faced. And that we were going to be seen as hypocritical if we say ‘come to Wales’…But they want to come, we can’t stop people…But what we are saying is come to Wales if you want to, but remember to respect us when you’re here and realise that we have a way of life, that we speak Welsh and do everything day to day through the medium of Welsh.”
“If we alienate them, they’ll just turn their backs, and won’t bother.”
The couple who are considering moving to Wales after falling in love with Anglesey are Phil and Anne Marie Mason from Newcastle-under-Lyme, who admit they’ve heard more people speaking Welsh in the four days of filming than they have in four years of visiting the island.
“The Welsh language is spoken more than what I thought it was, and I thought it was dying to be honest,” said Phil.
“But from my experience with the people I’ve met while I’ve been here, it isn’t. It’s strong and it’s thriving, and I thought that was amazing. And that’s what makes me more determined to get it into my head.”
This attitude is encouraging for Bethan: “What we want is for more people who move here to have that attitude. To be ready to fit in and become part of the community, and we have a responsibility as Welsh people to encourage them rather than scare them.”
Symud i Gymru on S4C on Wednesday 21 September, at 9.00pm.
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