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Coalition launches lobby for Welsh language communities
On 17 March, a north Wales village, Y Parc, near Bala, whose local school is under threat became the first area to join a new alliance to lobby for the future of Welsh language communities, Cynghrair Cymunedau Cymru (the Alliance of Welsh Communities).
The launch was held during a day of protest in the village against Gwynedd council’s decision to seek to close Ysgol Y Parc.
The alliance is an initiative of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (The Welsh Language Society), established so that Welsh language communities can campaign together for their future. The last census showed a significant drop in the number of communities where the Welsh language is spoken by over 70% of people. The next census is expected to show the same pattern.
Penri Jones, spokesperson for the campaign in Y Parc, said: ‘Our native Welsh language rural communities are increasingly scarce and decaying.... the natural Welsh-speaking areas are facing a real risk of being deprived of everything at the moment. The local school almost without exception has been, and is, the heart of the rural community and when the countryside’s schools are lost the other ties are certain to be undone.
‘I see setting up the alliance as an essential step to a strategy of sustaining and keeping a thread which connects the network that’s left. The latest visionless attempt by councils to close small schools has highlighted the reality of the situation. The Welsh language areas must prosper if we are to see any long-term successful future of the Welsh language and culture.’
Launching the alliance, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg welcomed the unanimous vote in the Welsh Assembly calling on the UK government to set up a ‘task and finish group’ to plan for an increase in the number of communities where Welsh is the main language.
Cymdeithas will use their Wales-wide ‘Taith Tynged yr Iaith’ (Fate of the Language Tour), part of the society’s 50th anniversary celebrations, to draw attention to the state of the language at a community level and encourage other communities to join the new alliance.
More info about the coalition: Colin Nosworthy 02920 486 469 or 07971 339 542;