Arfor 2: New programme launched to boost ‘economic resilience’ of Welsh language communities
The Welsh Government has announced it will invest £11m over the next three years in a new programme it says will help strengthen the economic resilience of Welsh language communities.
The new Arfor 2 programme is part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru and builds on the earlier Arfor programme launched in 2019.
The Welsh Government funding will be available to the four Local Authorities with the highest levels of Welsh speakers – Gwynedd, Ynys Môn, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.
The main objective of the programme is to support these Welsh strongholds and encourage the the language to flourish through economic interventions which will also contribute to increasing opportunities to see and use the Welsh language on a daily basis, they said.
The Welsh Government said that the funding will be used to create opportunities for young people and families (under 35 years old) to stay in or return to their indigenous communities.
It will also support commercial and community enterprises with the aim of preserving and increasing local wealth by taking advantage of the identity and unique qualities of their areas.
Today’s announcement outlines that agreement has been reached with partners in the local authorities on a programme of activity that will help support the communities and work will now continue on the detail of the proposed interventions, the Welsh Government said.
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said: “I am pleased that through collaborative working with local authorities and with Plaid Cymru, we have reached agreement on a strategic programme of interventions for Arfor 2 which has potential to make a significant difference in our Welsh speaking heartlands taking forward our ambitions of spreading economic prosperity.
“By working with our Local Authority partners, we want to support communities that are strongholds of the Welsh language to flourish through economic interventions and contribute to increasing opportunities to see and use the Welsh language on a daily basis.”
Designated Member, Cefin Campbell, added: “By working together we are building on the successes of the Arfor pilot which aims to support and grow the local economy and the Welsh language together.
“The investment of £11m in this scheme is a direct boost to the economies of the west that will further promote entrepreneurship, business growth and help protect the Welsh language.
“We want to make sure communities in these areas can thrive and people are able to stay in their local communities for work or to grow a business.”
The Economy Minister and Designated Member announced the new funding package for Arfor 2 during a visit to Canolfan S4C Yr Egin in Carmarthen and met with local entrepreneurs.
One of the aims of establishing Yr Egin was to act as a catalyst for promoting and strengthening the Welsh language and economy in Carmarthenshire.
The Minister and Designated Member also sampled Carmarthenshire honey produced by Mel Gwenyn Gruffydd, a Carmarthenshire based business which benefited from the first phase of Arfor.
Gruffydd, Co-founder of Gwenyn Gruffydd Ltd, said: “Having had support through the Arfor Scheme has meant that a small honey business like ours has been given a chance to flourish in a rural Welsh speaking community.
“It has allowed me and my wife to be full time in the business and enabled us to create a further Welsh speaking job within the business too. It has meant that we have been able to stay in rural West Wales, build a business, create jobs and promote the use of the Welsh language through our work.
“Being part of Arfor has enabled us as a business to contribute to the Welsh language by giving talks and presentations to local groups and community too.”
Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Darren Price, said: “We are pleased that Carmarthenshire based businesses and communities will be able to access support from the Arfor programme which will provide both economic opportunities across the county as well as support the development and sustainability of the Welsh language.
“We look forward to hearing from local organisations and businesses on their exciting concepts to nurture and sustain the ethos of the new Arfor programme.
“By working together with Arfor partners across the West, we have an opportunity to deliver a programme of innovative interventions that will encapsulate the relationship between the Welsh language and the economy.”
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