Newport’s new Welsh strategy seeks to make it ‘a language for all’
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
Newport City Council has set out a five-year plan to raise the profile of the Welsh language and make it a “language for all”
The strategy was backed by senior councillors at a cabinet meeting on Friday, 18 February.
All local authorities in Wales are required to promote the language as part of the Welsh Government’s aim to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050.
In a public consultation which took place between September and November 2021, 55% of respondents said they had no interest in learning the language.
According to the Annual Population Survey, 22.6% of people in Newport speak Welsh – this is lower than the Wales-wide average of 29.5%.
At the Cabinet meeting, Cllr David Mayer, Cabinet Member for Community and Resources, said: “I do know the national anthem and I am proud to be Welsh, but I do wish I could learn the language better. I did try during the lockdown but I didn’t get very far.”
Cllr Jason Hughes, the council’s Welsh language champion, spoke at the meeting in both Welsh and English. He said that the council’s strategy was education-focused.
By September 2032, the council aims for 11.1% of pupils in Year 1 (aged five to six) to be educated through the medium of Welsh. Currently, that figure is 5.1%.
Welsh language school places are currently under-subscribed in Newport, but the council has appointed an officer to encourage uptake.
Another part of the council’s strategy is to increase visibility of the language in informal settings outside of school and work. An example of this is the council’s partnership with Dragons Rugby region, where bilingual match day programmes will be introduced.
The Welsh Language Strategy 2022-2027 will now be presented at a full council meeting on 1 March.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.