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Save Twf – Cymraeg o’r Crud Services
Y Pwyllgor Deisebau | 14 Chwefror 2017
 Petitions Committee | 14 February 2017
 

 

 

 


Research Briefing:

Petition number: P-05-739

Petition title: I call on the Welsh Government, in collaboration with Mudiad Meithrin, to revisit the previous government’s detrimental decision to cancel the TWF project. Specifically I call on the Government to take urgent action to:

§    reverse the decision to cut £200,000 from TWF’s successor project

§    restore the continuity of support offered by TWF which focussed on language transfer and national, rather than piecemeal, support for parents and children. This would entail the reappointment of officers to posts with a presence in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Anglesey, Monmouthshire, Torfaen and Wrexham

§    ensure funding for activities that promote the Welsh language for parents with links to services such as Welsh for Adults, the Mentrau Iaith (Language Initiatives), libraries and leisure centres, including activities that also provide support for post-natal mental health.

 

Background

Twf – Cymraeg o’r Crud (or 2 languages from day 1 in English) was originally a pilot scheme funded by the Welsh Language Board in order to increase the number of bilingual families who transmit the Welsh language to their children. The focus of ‘Twf’ was to highlight the value of the Welsh language and bilingualism to new parents, prospective parents and the general population. The primary target audience for ‘Twf’ was mixed language families where only one parent spoke Welsh.

Following an evaluation of the pilot, it was found to be an effective scheme, and was launched to the public in March 2002. An independent evaluation of the scheme was conducted between April 2005 and March 2008 to understand the long term impact of the initiative. The report made a number of broad ranging recommendations, including the need to produce clear guidance for midwives and health visitors regarding how to present ‘Twf’ to parents, and to extend its activity in family centres in disadvantaged areas.   

In the Welsh Government’s Welsh Language Strategy Annual Report 2014-15, ‘Twf’ was described as the ‘main scheme’ in the area of encouraging use of Welsh in the home. It was operated across north and south-west Wales mainly, in order to encourage parents or carers who speak Welsh to transmit the language to their children.

It was reported in March 2016 that the scheme was to be replaced, and in April 2016 the Welsh Government launched its successor, ‘Cymraeg i Blant’.

 

Reverse the decision to cut £200,000 from TWF’s successor project

‘Cymraeg i Blant’, the successor to ‘Twf’ has a contract value of £500,000 per year. The contract was awarded to Mudiad Meithrin who will deliver ‘Cymraeg i Blant’ services on a local level. In July 2016, Golwg 360 reported (available in Welsh only) that the new Cymraeg i Blant has a £200,000 lower budget than its predecessor ‘Twf’.

The letter from the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies, states that the old and new schemes are not “directly comparable”, as ‘Twf’ included a role of working with other partners on a national level – this element according to the Minister now lies with Welsh Government officials. The Welsh Government’s Welsh Language Strategy Annual Report 2015-16 states that the new scheme, ‘Cymraeg i Blant” will be:

Jointly managed by Mudiad Meithrin and the Welsh Government. The Welsh Government will undertake the national promotional activity with the support of a number of partners, including the NHS. Whereas Mudiad Meithrin will undertake activities on a local level.

In addition to the time spent by Welsh Government officials working with the NHS and other national partners, the Minister states in his letter that the Welsh Government is also investing “£130,000 this year to promote Welsh-medium education”.

 

Restore the continuity of support offered by TWF

‘Twf’ as reported did not operate on a national level, with ‘Twf’ officers focused on specific areas in Wales, operating across 12 local authority areas. ‘Cymraeg i Blant’ officers are reportedly working across 14 local authority areas, and that various data sources have been used to guide the process of selecting the areas where officers will be working.

It is unclear from current information however which local authority areas ‘Cymraeg i Blant’ officers are currently working in, and whether a presence has been maintained within the local authority areas as indicated by the petitioner.

Ensure funding for activities that promote the Welsh language

The Welsh Government provide funding for a number of organisations, projects and schemes in support for the Welsh language. For 2017-18, a total of £36.195 million was allocated for the Welsh language in the Final Budget 2017-18. Of this, £29.231 million was allocated to Welsh in Education, and £6.964 million was allocated for funding organisations such as:

·         Mentrau Iaith (Welsh language initiatives);

·         National Eisteddfod; and

·         Urdd Gobaith Cymru;

along with schemes and initiatives such as:

·         Papurau Bro (community newspapers); and

·         Technology and Digital Media grants

According to the Welsh Government, promotion and awareness raising of the advantages of Welsh-medium education is a central part of the ‘Cymraeg i Blant’ programme. Since the new programme started in April 2016, some 8,000 children are reported to have already attended a ‘Cymraeg i Blant’ session.

Every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this briefing is correct at the time of publication. Readers should be aware that these briefings are not necessarily updated or otherwise amended to reflect subsequent changes.