The ability to respond to local needs
One of the Well-being of Future Generations Act (2015)’s aims is to ensure a ‘Wales of Vibrant Culture and Thriving Welsh Language’ therefore it’s important that the Welsh language is considered as part of any local or national developments.
As a network of voluntary organisations established and rooted locally, the Mentrau Iaith is pleased to be able to respond to the needs of their communities. Unlike other organisations, one of our network’s strengths is our variety while facing contrasting language profiles from one area to the other.
To ensure that traditional and natural Welsh communities continue and thrive, the Mentrau Iaith work alongside enthusiastic individuals to lead Local Action committees. However, due to the shortage of affordable housing in some areas, young people are known to leave traditional Welsh rural areas. This leads to a change in rural villages and small towns’ language profiles.
As well as a linguistic diversity, there are also economic diversities with some areas facing extreme poverty. While there are schemes and campaigns to tackle poverty in many areas, more often than not, the Welsh language isn’t central to these schemes. As a result, Wales omits the poorest citizens’ privilege to connect with our language, along with our culture and heritage, which are associated with the language, and this in turn restricts job opportunities in the future. Therefore, we should work in partnership as part of the tackling poverty schemes to ensure that access to the Welsh language is also a central part of the future programmes.
- Adapt the Planning (Wales) Act 2015 so that language impact assessments relating to any development, private and public, have to be carried out by independent and impartial assessors to ensure that those assessments are reliable. We feel that the Welsh Language Commissioner’s office should be responsible for monitoring these processes, however they will need extra resources to be able to undertake this work.
- Ensure that local authorities possess the powers to manage the housing market in their areas to secure homes for local people and to decrease the percentage of second homes
- Legislate to protect Welsh names
The Well-being of Future Generations Act and Tackling Poverty
- Call on the Welsh Government to collaborate with Welsh organisations on National Tackling Poverty schemes
- Ensure all of the Welsh Government’s departments are aware of their responsibility relating to the Well-being of Future Generations Act to consider the Welsh language as part of their work and investments
From experience: reflecting the language profiles of our areas
There are Welsh speakers across the whole of Wales. However, the scale varies, and this is reflected in the local Mentrau Iaith’s work. By producing language profiles for their specific areas, the Mentrau Iaith have a strong understanding of their communities and audiences. This is reflected in the Mentrau Iaith’s various projects in the different areas. The Mentrau Iaith are able to work with communities in west Wales that continue to live through the medium of Welsh, however, the same can’t be said for other areas. One project that has been established in Flintshire, Wrexham and Denbighshire is Bilingual Communities. The project’s aim is to cooperate with community groups that already exist and influence them to develop Welsh medium activities in their area as well as consider the Welsh language as part of any developments to reflect their communities’ bilingualism.