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Next phase of multi-million-pound project to help Welsh communities thrive

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething, Designated Member Cefin Campbell with council leaders

A suite of interventions to support Welsh language communities thrive economically as part of the Welsh Government’s 3 year multi-million-pound ARFOR programme has been revealed by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething and Plaid Cymru Designated Member Cefin Campbell at the National Eisteddfod in Llŷn ac Eifionydd today.

ARFOR is part of the Welsh Government’s Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru. It builds on the experience and evaluation of the earlier ARFOR programme launched in 2019.

Attending a launch event with the Leaders of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire Councils, the Economy Minister and Designated Member outlined the programme which will be delivered by the local authorities and aims to strengthen the economic resilience of Welsh language strongholds – and create jobs to support the language.

The Welsh Government funding, which is available to the four local authorities of Gwynedd, Ynys Môn, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, is supporting a number of strategic interventions, including a focus on opportunities for young people and families, to enable them to stay in or return to their home communities.

Launching the programme, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said:

“ARFOR 2 has the potential to make a significant difference in our Welsh speaking heartlands, by taking forward our ambitions of spreading economic prosperity across Wales.

“By working with our local authority partners, we want to support communities that are the strongholds of the Welsh language to flourish through economic interventions and contribute to increasing opportunities to see and use the Welsh language on a daily basis.”

Designated Member Cefin Campbell said:

“ARFOR is an exciting programme to support and grow the local economy and the Welsh language together. By investing in these areas, we will encourage and enable entrepreneurship and help businesses grow. This will support vibrant, thriving communities. It is great to be at the National Eisteddfod to highlight the programmes supported by ARFOR, a key project that has been enabled by the Co-operation Agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government.”

The Minister recently visited Siop Griffiths, a community enterprise in Penygroes, Dyffryn Nantlle which received funding from ARFOR 1 and has helped create local solutions to the challenges facing the Nantlle Valley and to give young people opportunities to stay and thrive in their community.  The enterprise won a St David Award in 2022 for Community Spirit.

“The support from the ARFOR Programme has helped Siop Griffiths create a new job – Services Manager – and is helping us strengthen our services and increase our income,” said Ben Gregory, Secretary of Siop Griffiths Cyf.

“In the long term we anticipate increasing the number of jobs and services, all operated through the medium of Welsh and offered to the public bilingually. The ARFOR Programme also helps us connect with like-minded social enterprises, where we can learn collaboratively about how best to support and strengthen the use of the Welsh language.”

There are five workstreams as part of the ARFOR programme – these are:

  • Llwyddo’n Lleol 2050 – A scheme for young people and young families under 35 to gain job opportunities and experiences that can encourage people to stay or return to their indigenous communities. Over the next few weeks, we will welcome applications from applicants to be part of the scheme. This support is administered by Menter Môn in partnership with Menter and Busnes. £3m will be invested to implement the project.
  • Cymunedau Mentrus – a fund that offers support to private / Community / social enterprises to develop new services / products within communities with a view to developing the local economy and increasing visibility of the Welsh language. For more details visit www.rhaglenarfor.cymru
  • Cronfa Her – a package of support for meeting the local and regional challenges of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. Individuals with innovative ideas to meet the economic challenges of the ARFOR Region will have the opportunity to apply for financial support. £2.6m will be invested to implement the project which will be delivered by Menter Môn in partnership with Menter and Busnes
  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning – Wavehill has been appointed to carry out the monitoring and evaluation of the ARFOR Programme to identify what we have learnt from the link between the local economy and the Welsh language. This work is in its early stages but to find out more, head over to www.rhaglenarfor.cymru
  • Bwrlwm ARFOR is about how businesses use Welsh and the benefit of doing so.  The tender for this work is now live. For more information head over to www.rhaglenarfor.cymru. Applications close August 14.

Following the launch, there will be a panel discussion chaired by Llŷr Roberts, Menter a Busnes and an opportunity to listen to an experienced panel discussing local and regional challenges and how the ARFOR Programme can support some of these challenges. The panel will include Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, Leader of Gwynedd Council; Lowri Gwilym, WLGA; Endaf Griffiths from Wavehill company and Dr Elin Hâf Gruffudd Jones, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.