A PARENT from Borth and a bookshop owner from Montgomery are among a group who have been recognised for their efforts to learn and promote the Welsh language.

The Welsh in the Family award was presented to Charlotte Pugh from Borth in Ceredigion during Aberystwyth University’s Annual Welsh Learners Awards Ceremony held online on Thursday, March 25.
Charlotte’s husband is a fluent Welsh speaker, and her children who are aged six and three are learning Welsh. Charlotte tries to speak Welsh with them, sings Welsh nursery rhymes, and reads Welsh books.

She also owns a business making children’s clothes. 

Charlotte’s hope in learning Welsh is to be able to chat in Welsh with her children and their friends and also help the children with their homework. Her wish is to be a good role model for her children, and for them to be proud of her.  

The award was one of six announced at the online ceremony.

Barry Lord from Montgomery, Powys won the learner of the year award. Barry who is originally from Lancashire, was inspired to learn Welsh on his first visit to the National Eisteddfod site.  

He has owned a book store in Montgomery since 2018, and takes every opportunity to speak Welsh with his customers. He is also an active member of a Welsh reading club in Montgomery and enjoys supporting other learners.  

Carmarthenshire County Council was presented with the Welsh in the Workplace award for their work in creating a very supportive environment for Welsh speakers and learners. 

Alice Farnworth, who works for the Information Services Department at Aberystwyth University, won the Work Welsh Learner of the Year Award. 

Clwb Hwb Maldwyn was awarded the Welsh Group of the Year. The club used to meet as a small group in Newtown, but since the lockdown, up to thirty meet on Zoom. 

Certificates for the WJEC’s Entry, Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced Welsh language examinations were presented to successful students, along with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol’s Certificate of Language Skills.

Congratulating everyone on their success, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said:

“Very many congratulations to everyone on their success in learning Welsh. As a Welsh learner myself, I know how much effort is needed to learn a new language. I would like to thank everyone for making that effort, and for being so enthusiastic in their efforts. Wales’ unique language is a special national treasure, and a gift to everyone who lives here.

“A special thanks goes to the tutors who have helped so many learners over the years. Thanks to them all for their excellent work, and to everyone in the Learning Welsh team.”

There are over 3,000 learners following Learn Welsh and Lifelong Learning courses through Aberystwyth University and its partners.

Aberystwyth University’s Learn Welsh Centre provides courses in Ceredigion, Powys and Carmarthenshire with specific provision for learning Welsh in the workplace and for families. 

More information is available by going to: https://learnwelsh.cymru/

Aberystwyth University Welsh Learning Awards 2021
Welsh in the Family Award: Charlotte Pugh

This is the seventh time Aberystwyth University has made this award. It is a prize for Welsh learners who have increased the use of Welsh within the family. Charlotte wins a free Welsh course and £25 Welsh book vouchers. 

Reacting to her win, Charlotte Pugh said: “I am extremely happy to have won this award. It means so much to me and my family. Winning this award has given me more confidence in speaking Welsh within the community. I am really looking forward to continuing my Welsh language journey into the future.” 

Welsh learner of the year in Ceredigion, Powys and Carmarthenshire: Barry Lord

Barry comes from Lancashire originally, and was inspired to learn Welsh on his first visit to the National Eisteddfod.

He received the Basil Davies memorial prize in 2018 for the highest marks in Wales in his basic level Welsh language exam. He is now studying on the higher and proficiency courses.

He has owned a bookshop in Montgomery since 2018, and takes advantage of every opportunity to speak Welsh to his customers. He is also an enthusiastic member of the Welsh language reading club in Montgomery, and he takes great pleasure in supporting other learners.

Reacting to the award, Barry Lord commented: “I think that starting to learn Welsh has been the most valuable decision I have made since I moved to Wales, so I feel so proud to receive this award. I would like to say how grateful I am to everyone who has supported me over the last five and a half years, including our excellent tutors and other people I have come to know who speak Welsh as a first language.”

“The whole experience of learning the language has been immensely enjoyable and has opened up a variety of new and sometimes unexpected opportunities for me. For example, I have become confident enough speaking the language to greet and socialise with customers in our bookstore and take part in meetings with one of our book suppliers through the medium of Welsh. I have also developed a strong interest in Welsh music as a direct result of attending musical events such as competitions during the National Eisteddfod as well as entertainment evenings, concerts and traditional Christmas services singing in Montgomeryshire and beyond. I would encourage anyone who is thinking of starting to learn Welsh to give it a try; I’ve never regretted it!”

Welsh Employer of the Year Award: Carmarthenshire County Council

This is the seventh time Aberystwyth University has made this award. It is an award for employers who support their staff to learn Welsh on Learn Welsh courses. It is an opportunity to celebrate the effort and progress of staff learning Welsh. The winning employer receives a free one-day course for the workplace.

19 council staff are following courses this year with Aberystwyth University. The Council pays the course fee and also gives them time to learn during working hours or flexible time.

Paul Thomas, Assistant Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council said: “Winning this award is a great honour and recognises the work  our staff do to create a truly bilingual council. It is important for us to support staff at each stage of their learning journey with different learning pathways to suit everyone, from those members of staff who need a basic understanding of Welsh, to those who want to increase their confidence or improve their written Welsh.”

Welsh Group of the Year Award: Clwb Hwb Maldwyn

This award celebrates the success of a group that has brought together speakers and learners for activities to use and promote the Welsh language. They win a £100 prize of Welsh language resources.
Mererid Haf Roberts a tutor from Clwb Hwb Maldwyn said: “The members of Clwb Hwb Maldwyn are very happy to have won the award. As an organiser, I am particularly pleased that the club has received this recognition, which is a credit to the commitment of the learners and the enthusiasm of the members of Clwb Hwb towards the language. The award is a great opportunity for us to celebrate our new Welsh speakers, along with their effort, goal and desire to use the language with other Welsh speakers.”

Work Welsh of the Year Award: Alice Farnworth

This year’s winner is Alice Farnworth, who works for Aberystwyth University’s Information Services Department. Alice is originally from Liverpool, but her father comes from Wales, and he is also learning Welsh – and, according to Alice, more fluently than her.

In her work as an IT Help Desk Assistant at the Hugh Owen Library, Alice provides support to staff, students and visitors with technical problems.

She uses Welsh every day in her work – and now she is confident to discuss simple things on the phone and face to face, and also write emails in Welsh.

Alice is one of over a hundred Aberystwyth University staff undertaking Welsh language courses this year.

Alice Farnworth said: “I was delighted to hear that I had won the Learning Welsh award. Learning Welsh helps me every day in my job, and improves my relationships with people across the University. Being able to help people bilingually in customer service jobs is very important, especially at a Welsh University. In my job as an IT Help Desk Assistant, technical things are changing fast – it’s important to use the language and keep up!

“Thank you to the Welsh language community for being so welcoming and supportive, and thank you to everyone at Learn Welsh for your help!”

Tutor of the Year: Sarah Graham

This year’s Tutor of the Year is Sarah Graham from Knighton in Powys. Sarah started working at Aberystwyth University as a tutor four years ago, and now teaches 8 courses to 94 learners.

Sarah wins the award for being an excellent tutor, but especially for her contribution to the field during lockdown. She has a specialist background in information technology and cyber security, helping to quickly shift courses to Zoom at the start of the pandemic last year. She has prepared training materials, and has given tutors a great deal of help both regionally and nationally.

Sarah Graham said: “Receiving this award is a huge honour – thank you very much!  I learned Welsh with Learn Welsh Ceredigion, Powys and Carmarthenshire.  After receiving so much invaluable support during my time as a learner, it was a privilege to be able to offer a little bit of additional help back to the team as a tutor.  I was very happy to be part of everyone’s wonderful efforts as we all changed overnight from teaching face to face to teaching on-line – which was a bit of an adventure!”

“Of course, we couldn’t have made this a success without the learners, they have been so supportive and enthusiastic, so a big thank you to them too!”