As community organisations, the Mentrau Iaith are lead by voluntary members of the community who give their time generously for the Welsh language and their communities. Without our volunteers – those who help out occasionally, leading clubs or directors – the Mentrau Iaith wouldn’t exist.
On International Volunteers’ Day, December 5th, the Mentrau Iaith are pleased to announce the 3 shortlisted Volunteers for the Mentrau Iaith Awards;
Lloyd Evans – a volunteer with Menter Bro Ogwr
Lloyd started learning Welsh as a second language at Maesteg Comprehensive School. He chose to study Welsh at GCSE and A level because he was proud of his Welsh heritage and enjoyed learning languages. After succeeding at University, he moved back to the county and sought opportunities to socialise in Welsh with Menter Bro Ogwr.
After a period of volunteering occasionally with the initiative, he joined the team as a youth worker. Having moved on in his career as a translator, Lloyd continues to volunteer with the language initiative as a board member and is now chairman of Menter Bro Ogwr. Lloyd is keen to ensure opportunities for the Welsh language within the county and believes very strongly in the importance of Menter Iaith’s work in achieving this.
Catherine Gent initially attended the initiative’s Sblash a Chân (Splash and Song) sessions at Caerphilly swimming pool as a parent. After attending twice with her children she offered herself as a volunteer leader for the sessions. Catherine is a lively and friendly personality who attracts people to the sessions, she has a natural way of communicating with parents and babies and is passionate about the Welsh language and for Menter Caerffili’s work. Catherine says;
“I had the opportunity to become a volunteer with Menter Caerffili in October 2018. I lead their Sblash a Chân sessions in the pool at the local Caerphilly Leisure Center. As a result it gave me the confidence to start my own business called Halibalw and to offer a musical service that promotes the Welsh language to young children and their parents / carers. I am extremely grateful to them for this amazing opportunity. ”
Menter Iaith Conwy board of directors
The language initiative in Conwy County has nominated their board members for the award in recognition of their contribution to the development, purchase and refurbishment of the old HSBC Bank building in Llanrwst to become a new home for Menter Iaith Conwy. Board members assisted the Chief Officer in the bidding and tendering work and offered a helping hand, from painting walls to laying floors.
Huw Prys Jones, chairman of the board of directors, says;
“I’ve been on the board of directors for about ten years now and I’m very proud of the opportunity to contribute to society and to make a difference. From my personal perspective it works well because I’m self-employed, at home on my own, it’s good for me to come out and work with different people. I’m lucky that I’m relatively flexible with my work so that I can come to different meetings, sometimes at a short notice.
I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who would love the opportunity to volunteer so the message to them is that there are lots of organisations that would really appreciate your help. It doesn’t have to be a big commitment … even one hour can contribute a lot.”
These nominees have volunteered their time to help their enterprise in many different ways and their contribution is invaluable. The category is sponsored by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) which supports and represents the third sector in Wales and values the contribution of volunteers who make the Mentrau Iaith work possible.
Along with the categories ‘Collaborating with Partners’, ‘Event’, ‘Technology’ and ‘Community Development’, the winners will be announced at the Mentrau Iaith Celebration Evening at the Marine Hotel Aberystwyth on January 22nd, 2020. Shortlists for the other categories will be announced in January leading up to the prestigious evening.
The Mentrau Iaith work to strengthen the use of Welsh in communities across Wales and aim to increase the number of speakers to a million by 2050, following the Welsh Government strategy.
Minister for the Welsh Language Eluned Morgan said:
“Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated for an award. We invest over £2.5million in the Mentrau Iaith through the Welsh Language Hybu a Hyrwyddo Grant. Without the help of volunteers, the Mentrau Iaith would not be able to offer the wide variety of events throughout Wales. These events and interventions are vital in securing the future of the Welsh language. Thank you to everyone for their dedication.”
From volunteering occasionally to being part of an area specific committee – you can find out the different ways to volunteer with your local Menter Iaith by visiting our Volunteering page.