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Learning Welsh proving popular during lockdown

Learning Welsh is one of the ways people are entertaining and improving themselves during the lockdown, new figures suggest.

When Welsh classes across the nation were forced to stop, the Welsh Government’s sponsored organisation the National Centre for Learning Welsh quickly moved their community face to face lessons online to ensure they could continue – helping their students to carry on with their learning and maintaining social contact to combat loneliness. Rather than proving a barrier, there’s evidence that attendance at the lessons has increased since they moved online.

The centre also launched Facebook live lessons for beginners at 3pm on weekdays. The twelve lessons so far have been viewed over 36,000 times, with over 1,000 people taking part on a daily basis.

Now, learners have the opportunity to learn alongside celebrities, Ruth Jones, Carol Vorderman, Colin Jackson, Scott Quinnell and Adrian Chiles in the new S4C series Iaith ar Daith (Welsh on the Road). The programme which starts tonight (Sunday April 19th) at 8.00pm is sponsored by the National Centre for Learning Welsh.

New distance learning courses, which combine webinars with online activities to be completed by learners in their own time, coincide with the programme. The courses will begin in May and registration opens on Monday April 20th at https://dysgucymraeg.cymru/newyddion/dysgu-digidol/ .

Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language said: “This is currently a very worrying and difficult time for everybody, but one of the positives is that people have time to do things that they have intended doing for many years, and it’s clear that becoming one of our Welsh speaking community is one of them.

“When the more traditional ways of learning Welsh were interrupted by the lockdown, I asked the National Centre for Learning Welsh to think about new ways to help people learn and I thank them for responding so brilliantly and so quickly.

“We may be forced to be at home, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be alone. Joining an online Welsh class and learning together with new friends means we can still socialise and can do what we’ve always meant to do. We can take inspiration from the celebrities having a go and all learn together, in one voice.”

The centre is also developing a Facebook course for parents of young children to help families use more Welsh together and help non Welsh speaking parents with children in Welsh education to keep up with their Welsh while not in school.

Efa Gruffudd Jones, Chief Executive National Centre for Learning Welsh said: “We’re delighted to be able to support our learners – with both their learning and from a wellbeing point of view, providing routine, normality and social support during these unprecedented circumstances. We are also pleased that we are able to continue with our services for new learners. This is a fantastic opportunity to join a Welsh course.”

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