RNIB's Welsh Language Plan

RNIB is charity that helps blind and partially sighted people live independently and enjoy everyday activities. Read about their experience of receiving the Cynnig Cymraeg (Welsh Offer) below. 

What Welsh services do you offer? 

RNIB Cymru is proud to offer a wide variety of services and communication through the medium of Welsh for blind or partially sighted people in Wales including the following: 

  • Personal Welsh transcription in accessible formats 
  • Providing Welsh text-to-speech voices and advice about Welsh assistive technology 
  • Our customers can connect with other Welsh speakers who lost their sight through our community chat group 
  • Our sight loss advice service is available in Welsh 
  • We welcome correspondence from our customers in Welsh 
  • RNIB Cymru uses the Welsh language on all our social media channels. 
  • Publications and information booklets are available in Welsh and English 
  • Staff and volunteers can learn the language or brush up on their Welsh by attending online courses provided by the National Centre for Learning Welsh.  

Why is using Welsh important to you? 

Having the option to use our services through the medium of Welsh is not just a choice. 

We know that many Welsh speakers feel more comfortable expressing themselves in Welsh. They feel more confident communicating their needs in Welsh and this is especially true when customers are discussing sensitive issues. 

Describe the process of preparing the Welsh Language Development Plan from the decision to prepare a plan to receiving recognition from the Commissioner. 

RNIB Cymru has provided some Welsh language services for decades and therefore the preparation of the Welsh Language Development Plan was a natural step towards improving our provision, especially in terms of promoting services. 

Our journey began by completing a comprehensive survey of our current use of the Welsh language across the organisation and it became clear where our strengths and weaknesses were. 

This triggered constructive conversations internally and was a great opportunity to remind everyone about our commitments and the value of offering Welsh language services. The team at the Welsh Language Commissioner were fantastic in offering feedback and discussing ideas for our targets and to help with a change of mindset to be more proactive in offering Welsh language services. 

Once there was a consensus across our organisation and targets in place the process of applying for approval was clear and quick. 

Why is it important that you have received the approval of the Cynnig Cymraeg? 

Much of RNIB Wales' funding is public money. We therefore have a duty to ensure bilingual provision for the public in accordance with our funding guidelines. 

More importantly, RNIB believes that offering services in a customer's preferred language is an integral part of providing good customer service and equal opportunity in a bilingual nation. 

What is the benefit for you of accepting the Cynnig Cymraeg? 

Accepting the Cynnig Cymraeg has improved the quality of our services and gives assurance to customers that RNIB is committed to providing high quality Welsh language services. 

It makes it clear that we are a charity rooted in Wales, outlining our commitments to the Welsh speaking population. The approval ensures social inclusion and equality in Wales and accurately reflects our communities. 

What are the advantages of offering Welsh medium services to your service users? 

Offering Welsh-medium services gives our users a real choice. 

We know that many Welsh speakers feel more comfortable expressing themselves in Welsh, and feel more confident communicating their needs in Welsh, thinking, and living their lives in Welsh. 

Feeling able to express yourself and feeling comfortable and confident to communicate with a service provider is crucial, for example when receiving a diagnosis of sight loss. 

Has the Cynnig Cymraeg made a difference to your work? 

Preparing for receiving the Cynnig Cymraeg has prompted us to change our attitudes to be more proactive in offering Welsh language services and to ensure more consistency in our provision by reviewing internal processes and procedures and monitoring them constantly. 

The Cynnig Cymraeg has also given us the opportunity to focus on new aspects such as offering opportunities to learn the language in the workplace and emphasising our transcription services and assistive technology. 

Would you encourage others to work towards the Cynnig Cymraeg, and why? 

Certainly, the application process is easy and the staff at the Commissioner's office are very willing to help. The process has prompted us to rethink how we work and has improved the quality of our services. It is our hope that this will improve our reach across Wales. 

Do you have any advice for other organisations that are considering working towards the Cynnig Cymraeg? 

Go for it, it's a great opportunity to improve and promote your services. The Commissioner's office is excellent in terms of offering support and the application process is simple and clear. 

In practice when developing the plan, it helps if you can secure support from individuals from senior management team and to share good practice between the teams within your organisation. Be positive and take advantage of the opportunity.