Family’s plea to council leader over Gwynedd language centres

A family from the Dolgellau area have asked for an urgent meeting with the leader of Gwynedd council leader in an effort to prevent cuts to the county’s language centres.

Marcus Smith was intensively taught Welsh in the Llangybi language centre when his family moved from Kent to Talysarn in the early nineties. In a letter to Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn, Annest Smith, Marcus’ wife, requests a meeting, saying: “Thanks to this centre and its staff, Marcus is now living his life in Welsh and speaks it naturally with his children. Without attending the language centre, this would almost certainly not be the case. As you know, we are a Welsh only speaking family in the house, and Marcus is a part of a rural agricultural community in Meirionnydd.

“These centres have a long term impact on so many people and families in Gwynedd. They are essential to the survival of the language in the county and beyond. Any cuts would be very damaging, and would be contrary to the council’s language policy.

Language groups are organising a protest against the cuts to the centres on Saturday 30th March on the Maes in Caernarfon and Annest Smith will be one of the speakers.

Menna Machreth from Cymdeithas yr Iaith added:

“Annest and Marcus’ family’s experience just goes to show how important these language centres are to the language and our communities. They change people’s lives and have an extremely positive impact on the language, and also in the long term.  The centres are one of the main successes there have been in terms of including those who move in to Wales - ensuring that schools continue to teach through the medium of Welsh and giving full access to community life to the young people who move into the area. We’re hopeful that the council’s cabinet will change its mind before making a final decision next month.”

Gwynedd Council’s cabinet is expected to make a final decision about the fate of the centres on Tuesday 2nd April.