Work to support Welsh language skills and use will receive £2.4m in Covid recovery funding, "to help keep Cymru on its route to doubling the daily use of Welsh by 2050".
In support of its 2050 Work Programme, the Welsh Government has today announced funding to support school-level late immersion Welsh learners and Welsh language skills development, along with helping the National Eisteddfod as Cymru looks forward to welcoming the return of the festival in 2022.
The announcement comes as the results of the Welsh Language Use Survey for 2019-20 show more than half (56%) of Welsh speakers aged three or older speak our language daily, up from 53% in 2013-15.
The survey (available here) also shows:
Welsh speakers aged 3 to 15 years old are more likely than any other age group to speak Welsh daily, with just over two thirds (67%) doing so
45% of Welsh speakers aged 16 to 29 years old now use their Welsh every day, an increase of five percentage points since the last survey in 2013-15
almost a half of Welsh speakers (48%) consider themselves to be fluent in Welsh
almost two in three Welsh speakers aged 16 or older usually felt confident when speaking the language (40% very confident, and 24% fairly confident)
69% of Welsh speakers agreed with the statement that speaking Welsh is an important part of who they are (49% strongly agreed, and 20% tended to agree)
Immersion learning helps pupils whose Welsh may not have been part of their daily routine, or who may not have Welsh language skills, to use it in their day-to-day learning.
The Welsh Government said that there is now "more pressure" on immersion services as a result of "many families" moving to Cymru looking to place older children in Welsh-medium education,
The funding will also support pupils at Welsh-medium schools who, during the pandemic lost the opportunity to use their Welsh every day, and had "limited or no contact with the language" because of the disruption caused.
Expanding the late immersion programme is one of the commitments outlined in the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, and is an important element in its plan to increase the number of learners educated through the medium of Welsh.
The Welsh Government has also announced that it will provide one-off funding of £200k to the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, which will help "rebuild staffing levels following the pandemic".
The 2022 and 2023 National Eisteddfodau will be held in Ceredigion and on Pen Llŷn, respectively.
As well as helping the Eisteddfod to increase staff, the funding will also contribute to a pilot which will set up a network of Culture Ambassadors, to help community and social inclusion in areas in which the annual event takes place.
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, said: “To help achieve the goals we’ve outlined in our Cymraeg 2050 strategy in the light of the pandemic, we need to ensure we support key organisations working to increase the use of our language.
“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to give recovery funding for late immersion learning and to the National Eisteddfod. These are both crucial parts of our plans to help more of us to learn and use Welsh
“I’m also glad to see the results of the Welsh Language Use Survey for 2019-20. These give us one useful, quantitative insight into how we use Welsh in Wales.
“While there are positive trends within the data and they deserve celebrating, as we continue to implement Cymraeg 2050, we’ll be looking at all the statistics and research sources available to us to make sure we base our work on evidence, and that the evidence helps us know what’s working or not.
“The funding we’ve announced today is part of our strategy for increasing Welsh language use across Wales during the next thirty or so years. I firmly believe that Welsh belongs to us all, and I’m determined to help more and more of us learn and use our language.”