Following months of events and activities in the area, a group of Welsh speakers from Abergavenny have decided to get together on a regular basis to look at how to encourage people to use Welsh when socialising.
The group is eager to bring Welsh speakers, Welsh learners, and those interested in learning the language together, to develop a programme of activities. They are also keen to work in partnership with a number of local and national agencies who are involved in the language.
The 2001 Census showed that around 10% of those living in the Abergavenny area are able to speak Welsh – a substantial increase since the last Census back in 1991, when only 2% of local people spoke Welsh. This increase was one of the main reasons for the group to get together, according to terry Thomas, who attended the first meeting:
"Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin (the national association of Welsh language playgroups), the Urdd, the 2004 National Eisteddfod Appeal Committee and the Cymreigyddion Society are already active in the area, and the community felt that this is an ideal opportunity to build on the vitally important work which is done in the Abergavenny area. This is why we've decided to get together and take advantage of local interest.
"The Welsh medium primary school is flourishing, and there's a number of local people who are either learning or eager to learn Welsh – so this is an excellent opportunity to get everyone together."
The Welsh Language Board was involved in one of the group's first meetings, and staff were able to offer ideas and advice on how to encourage the community to take part in such a project. With a proven track record in assisting community groups keen to use Welsh, the Board will be able to help local people in the Abergavenny area as they further develop a programme of events.
For more information on the Abergavenny Welsh speakers' group, please contact Delyth Clarke on 01873 858 671.