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Council launches revised five-year Welsh Language Strategy

26 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Port Talbot Waterside. Photo Neath Port Talbot Council

Members of Neath Port Talbot Council have adopted a revised Welsh Language Strategy to increase the use of Welsh in local communities over the next five years.

According to the 2021 Census, around 13.5% of people over the age of three in Neath Port Talbot can speak Welsh – a decrease from the 2011 census when the percentage was 15.3%.

The upper Swansea Valley and Amman Valley, with wards such as GwaunCae-Gurwen and Lower Brynamman and Cwmllynfell and Ystalyfera, continue to be the areas in the county borough with the highest percentage of Welsh speakers.

The revised five-year plan aims to build on the council’s first Welsh Language Promotion Strategy which was launched in 2018.

The new strategy document contains the inspirational quote from Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien:”Welsh is of this soil, this island, the senior language of the men of Britain; and Welsh is beautiful.”

The document continues to declare: “Welsh is more than just the language; it is part of our being, our heritage and culture. It is woven into the fabric of our lives – even if not instantly recognisable; our place names, forenames, colloquialisms, all are rooted in the Welsh language.

“Our Culture and Heritage Strategy – currently being developed – will further address these links.”

A wide range of potential actions to increase the use of Welsh across Neath Port Talbot set out in the new strategy document include:

  • Promoting the benefits of bilingualism/language awareness to young families and all new comers into NPT
  • Providing homework support to pupils of non-Welsh speaking families attending Welsh medium schools
  • Exploring reasons for limited take up/access to Welsh language courses/education amongst specific communities
  • Providing language awareness and training courses for teaching and non-teaching staff.
  • Supporting and promoting the use of Welsh in social settings and in workplaces.
  • Working with partners to increase the visibility of Welsh across leisure, business and cultural locations, activities and events.

Local residents have fed into the new strategy via a public consultation on the revised strategy the council has used a wide range of information to develop the strategy with partners to make Welsh more widely seen and heard in all of Neath Port Talbot’s communities.

The council says it is fully supportive of the Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 Strategy, published originally in 2017 and recently updated, which sets out a target of achieving a million Welsh speakers by 2050.

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