On Saturday I visited the annual Tafwyl festival in Cardiff Castle which was attended by over 16,500 people. Established in 2006, the festival celebrates and raises the profile of the Welsh language in Cardiff, and since then has gone from strength to strength. Tafwyl is now one of the most prominent and inclusive Welsh language community festivals in the Welsh calendar.
Bringing partners together to share ideas on how we can all make a difference is central to being a Co-operative Council.
In many ways Tafwyl is a fine example of how partnership working can deliver amazing results, with the Council hosting the event, external partners such as the Welsh Government and Cardiff University providing funding and other partners such as Menter Caerdydd organising such a memorable event.
This approach was also behind a ‘Bilingual Cardiff’ conference, held in March this year. Over 40 organisations attended, as well as the First Minister and Welsh Language Commissioner, to consider how the Welsh language could be better promoted in the city. One of the most noticeable suggestions tduring the day was the idea of a Welsh language space in the city.
During Tafwyl’s opening ceremony on Saturday, I was therefore delighted to announce that the Council would now explore the potential for a new ‘Welsh Language Space’ in the heart of our capital, which I know is a shared aspiration with many of our partners and would fulfil a major commitment in our strategy to promote Welsh in Cardiff.
We are becoming an increasingly bilingual city. Cardiff was one of the few local authority areas in Wales to see a rise in both the number and percentage of Welsh speakers in the 2011 census. In the city, well over a quarter of our children and young people in the 5-15 age group are now fluent Welsh speakers. In fact, since 1991, the number of Welsh speakers in Cardiff has doubled.
That’s why I believe we should be actively promoting the Welsh language rather than simply meeting our statutory requirements – something which I discussed recently in a meeting with the Welsh Language Commissioner.
We have also recently rebranded the City Council’s Welsh Language Unit as ‘Bilingual Cardiff,’ a move which will allow us to take on more of an advisory role for other organisations whilst continuing to actively promote awareness of the Welsh language across the city through improved collaborative working arrangements.
If you’d like to find out more about our approach or want to know how your organisation could be part of the proposed Welsh Language Space, get in touch by emailing BilingualCardiff@cardiff.gov.uk
At the end of last week, the City of Cardiff welcomed a delegation from Stuttgart – which is Cardiff’s longest-standing twin city. Our German guests included the city’s Deputy Mayor – Dr Martin Schairer – as well as representatives from departments dealing with Foreign Affairs, Culture, Urban Development and Sport. The purpose of the visit was manifold: meetings were held with politicians and officials from a number of City Council Departments on topics which both cities are interested in, such as youth unemployment and economic development.
The itinerary also included a visit to the Stuttgart Garden in Bute Park which was designed and donated by Stuttgart in 2005 to mark Cardiff’s centenary as a city and its 50th year as the capital of Wales.
Next year will be the 60th anniversary of the important link between Cardiff and Stuttgart and plans are already underway to celebrate this. Both cities are also looking to develop a programme of collaborative projects and learning exchanges focused on areas of mutual interest.