Denbighshire County Council has announced it is to carry out a county-wide audit of the Welsh language, to try and halt the decline in the number of Welsh speakers in its communities.
The 2011 Census data notes that 24.6% of Denbighshire residents can speak
Welsh, with 18.6% able to speak, read and write in Welsh.
This compares to
20.7% of residents being able to speak, read and write in Welsh in the 2001
Census, a decline of 2%.
Hywyn Williams, Corporate Director for
Communities and Learning, said: "Nationally, efforts are being made to enhance
the Welsh language through the publication of the Welsh Government’s Welsh
Language Measure (Wales) 2011, the appointment of a Welsh Language
Commissioner, the imminent introduction of Welsh Language Standards and the
publication of the Welsh Government’s A Living Language: A Language for
Living, a Welsh Language Strategy.
"The Council feels it is timely to undertake a full audit of the use of the
Welsh Language within our community, to respond to the situation locally. The
findings from the audit should pave the way forward in order to develop a
strategy to secure the growth of the language well into the future.
"Other key developments within the County such as the adoption of the Local
Development Plan, the Modernising Education Strategy and our Regeneration &
Economic Ambition Strategy will present challenges and opportunities in terms of
the development of the Welsh Language.
"The risk of a further decline in the use of the Welsh Language is a real
one, and if no action is taken, in all likelihood, the 2021 Census will confirm
The audit will look at four key areas:
1) Education provision, which will include the provision of Welsh Medium and
Bilingual Education across the Authority, childcare provision, informal learning
provided largely through the statutory Youth Service and broader Youth Support
Services, pre-school provision and Adult Learning Provision
2) The support provided for families. This to include the information that
is provided for families and the information and support provided for the most
vulnerable of families, together with the support for families to develop the
Welsh Language within the home context and the support provided for non-Welsh
speaking families, where their children are educated in Welsh medium/bilingual
3) The support for the Welsh Language and culture within communities which
includes the support for voluntary sector organisations, business support and
key policies that shape the future of communities such as the Local Development
Plan, Modernising Education Policy and housing provision
4) Services provided directly and indirectly by the Council to include
internal working arrangements, our ability to respond through the medium of
Welsh and bilingually to residents and visitors, the way the Council promotes
the use of the Welsh Language, the minuting of meetings, translation facilities,
the use of social media, and the place of the Welsh Language in policy
Councillor Huw Jones, Cabinet Lead Member with responsibility for the Welsh
Language said: "Our intention is to begin the audit in September and we will
consult widely with interested groups and individuals such as Menter Iaith,
Urdd, the business and voluntary sectors.
"The audit work will be carried out by an independent organisation and we
expect to have clear recommendations as to how Denbighshire should take the
important matter of promoting and facilitating the acquisition and use of the
Welsh Language within its community further through a robust action plan, which
will lead to a greater number of residents able to use the Welsh language
confidently by 2021".