The Duke of Edinburgh Award charity works with organisations across the UK to help young people develop essential skills, experience, confidence and resilience to successfully navigate adulthood. Below Jessica Rumble, Implementation Officer with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in Wales discusses their Cynnig Cymraeg.
I had a conversation with a member of the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Promotion team about the Cynnig Cymraeg and the process, and then proceeded to complete the questionnaire. This was a great starting point to assess what we were already offering and how we could develop our Welsh language services. The development plan was a framework for planning these developments, and ensuring that we also maintain our current services. I liked that the plan could be adapted as needed to reflect our organisation and our work, for example we have a Young Ambassadors program, and we were keen to include this as part of the plan. The support from the promotion team was very valuable, especially when discussing developments and setting targets. I also attend Welsh Language in the Third Sector network meetings, and this is a good opportunity to share experiences and ideas with other organisations.
The importance of the Cynnig Cymraeg
We are very proud of our work across Wales and our commitment to the Welsh language. It was an exciting day when we received the letter confirming that we had received the Cynnig Cymraeg!
Our main aim is to ensure that we do as much as possible to support young Welsh speakers and learners to have new opportunities by taking part in a Duke of Edinburgh Award. Receiving the approval gives us confidence as an organisation that our development plan is helping us reach this goal. We are also keen to raise the profile of our Welsh language services so that more people are aware of them. The Cynnig Cymraeg is going to be a great help in doing this.
What are the advantages of offering Welsh language services to your service users?
Participating in a Duke of Edinburgh Award encourages young people to challenge themselves and to build self-belief and self-confidence. It is vital for us that young people from all over Wales can take advantage of these opportunities.
In 2022/23 over 11,000 young people in Wales started the Duke of Edinburgh Award, with the support of 1,419 Leaders and volunteers across schools, colleges, youth centres and voluntary organisations. We know that many of our leaders communicate through the medium of Welsh with the young people they support. It is therefore important that Welsh resources and training are available to support all these leaders.
We work with several organisations in the public sector - which have responsibilities to provide bilingual services under the Welsh language standards. Therefore having resources such as marketing and communication material in Welsh is very important for these organisations. As a youth charity, we also realise the importance of promoting the Welsh language through our work to inspire young people to be proud to be Welsh.
Has the Cynnig Cymraeg made a difference to your work?
The development plan has given us a clear focus in terms of maintaining and developing our Welsh medium services and has led to more conversations and discussions about our Welsh language services across the team in Wales and with colleagues across the UK.
One thing we are very aware of now is to ensure that it is easy to find our Welsh resources – we now have a brand-new section on the website for our Welsh and English resources, to make it easier to select and download resources. We have introduced new services, such as offering virtual support through the medium of Welsh to new centres and developing new training for leaders.
Would you encourage others to go for the Cynnig Cymraeg, and why?
Definitely! It has been a very beneficial process for us as an organisation, and we have benefited from the experience and support of the Welsh Language Commissioner’s promotion team. External advice is useful for offering new ideas and perspective. I felt that the focus throughout the process was on supporting us to create a development plan that reflects our work as a charity and our ambitions.
What three things can you offer in Welsh?
- We support leaders and organisations to offer Duke of Edinburgh Award programs to their young people by providing marketing material, a range of resources, and virtual sessions through the medium of Welsh. Initial training for leaders is also available in Welsh, with more Welsh-medium training to come soon.
- We provide Welsh-medium resources to support young people undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh's Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. For parents and carers, we also hold virtual information sessions through the medium of Welsh giving more information about the Award and how to support a young person to start, work towards and complete the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
- We encourage young people who speak Welsh to join our Young Ambassadors program by advertising and communicating about the program bilingually. It is great to see Welsh speakers and learners among the current group of Young Ambassadors.