Promoting the Welsh language – from an island with a population of two
There are plenty of opportunities to promote the Welsh language – even if you’re living on an island with a population of two.
Nia Stephens who lives as a warden on Ramsey Island (Ynys Dewi) off the coast of Pembrokeshire says that she is pleased to be able to use the Welsh language in her everyday work.
The Island is owned and protected by RSPB Cymru, and Nia is one of two wardens who shepherd the island for nine months a year.
Despite this, she says that she has plenty of opportunities to use the Welsh language as part of her work there.
“When the boat comes in, I always welcome them to the Island in Welsh with a ‘croeso,’ and introduce myself in Welsh,” Nia, who guides visitors around the island, said.
“At least then, the people who speak Welsh know that I can speak the language, and they speak Welsh to me all day afterwards.
“I think people can almost always work out that I speak Welsh, and then they can speak Welsh with me about the wildlife. It makes a difference to their day.
“I believe the Welsh language gives visitors a better experience. It’s hard to explain why, we’d be the same, you feel more comfortable. It makes you feel, like you’re part of something. It makes a difference.”
Nia, who lives on the Island from March to November, said that the language was clearly as important to RSPB Cymru as it was to her.
“A lot of Welsh-speaking staff work for the charity,” she said. “I send a lot of e-mails in Welsh. I translate the Island social media messages to Welsh; we do everything in Welsh and English, I think that’s very important.
“The Welsh language is very important to the RSPB Cymru, and to me.”
Nia Stephens, who is originally from Cardigan first visited Ramsey Island at the age of 20, and instantly fell in love with the place.
“Working here is a dream, it’s such a privilege for me to call the Island my home,” she said.
“I feel shocked all the time when I meet people from St David’s who have never been to Ramsey Island,” says Nia, who says that most of her visitors from Wales have come from Cardiff and Anglesey this year.”
This week RSPB Cymru launched their Cynnig Cymraeg (Welsh Language Offer) after the Welsh Language Commissioner recognised that the charity has reached a particularly high standard in their Welsh language service to the public.
The Scheme intends to provide organisations with a clear plan to follow, maintain, and develop their Welsh language services over time. It also demonstrates to public sector funding bodies that organisations are meeting Welsh language requirements.
Alun Prichard, Director of RSPB Cymru, said it had been a pleasure working with the Welsh Language Commissioner over the last few months on the Cynnig Cymraeg.
“As a charity operating in Wales, we are passionate about serving the people of Wales fully bilingual,” he said.
“As part of the theCynnig Cymraeg scheme, we will work to ensure that we communicate with our supporters and the public bilingually at all times, whether through the inclusion of blogs and social media for signs in nature reserves. The scheme will further strengthen our commitment to implementing and serving the people of Wales in both languages.”
Aled Roberts, Welsh Language Commissioner, congratulated RSPB Cymru on their Cynnig Cymraeg.
“I also have to congratulate Nia, for improving the visitor experience, and for promoting the language to visitors beyond Wales,” he said.
“We look forward to working with the charity further in the future, and wish them well, in developing their Welsh Offer.”