New leader of the Welsh language society calls for more members
You don’t have to protest or break the law to be a member of the Welsh language society, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, the new chair has said.
Osian Rhys of Pontypridd was elected as the new chairman two weeks ago.
He urged anyone who was supportive of the Welsh language to join the campaign group.
“I’m keen to stress that anyone who supports the Welsh language can join our movement,” he said.
“Some of our supporters are ready to protest or even break the law over what they believe in.
“But most of our work happens behind the scenes – writing letters, going to meetings and pushing for change wherever we can.
“One thing anyone can do is join up through our website and help to finance our campaigns. Every contribution helps.”
Cymdeithas yr Iaith have campaigned for the continued success of the Welsh language for over 50 years, concentrating mainly on broadcasting, the right to use the language, housing and education.
Osian Rhys said that much of the hard work is “less prominent” these days that the famous campaigns to secure S4C and Welsh language signage.
“But there have been key victories in the last few years as well,” he said. “From ensuring that we have a Welsh Federal College to the Welsh Language Commissioner to an official status for the language.
“The Government has now dedicated itself to creating a million Welsh speakers by 2050. This is a big step forward, but for it to happen everything needs to change again.
“We need to ensure that every child has access to Welsh medium education. It is unacceptable that 80% of our children leave school without being able to speak Welsh fluently.
“Another of Cymdeithas’ main campaigns is to devolve broadcasting powers to Wales.
“We will also be calling for the protection of and strengthening of language rights. There is currently a threat to them as the Government discusses a new Welsh Language Act that will turn back the clock and weaken our language rights.”