Staff from Cered, the Welsh Language Initiative in Ceredigion, campaigned around the Llandysul area on Thursday 15 October to celebrate the ‘Shwmae Sumae’ day.
The day is organised by Dathlu’r Gymraeg, a network that celebrate the success of the Welsh language and calls for action to ensure its future. The aim of the campaign is to urge people to start conversations in Welsh in order to make the language much more prominent, and to show that the language belongs to everyone in Wales, whatever their language ability.
Having secured the commitment of fifty businesses, groups and organisations to the Ceredigion Language Charter in the Llandysul area in early summer, it was a chance for Cered staff to revisit the businesses to promote the day. The Ceredigion Language Charter was developed by the partnership group Dyfodol Dwyieithog, a Bilingual Future Executive Group on behalf of the Ceredigion Local Service Board, to raise awareness of the Welsh language and bilingual services that are provided across Ceredigion. The project is coordinated by Cered.
It was an opportunity for Cered staff to present Charter certificates and ‘iaith ar waith’ badges as well as encouraging local businesses to initiate their conversations with ‘Shwmae?’
Mari Slaymaker from Barbwr Llandysul said, “A large number of my customers are Welsh speakers. I always greet in Welsh – every day is ‘Shwmae’ day in Barbwr Llandysul. I think it is intrinsic that I maintain a bilingual service so that customers feel comfortable speaking in their chosen language. Campaigns such as ‘Diwrnod shwmae’ is a great way to promote this and remind businesses of the importance of sustaining a bilingual service.”
Since its launch, over 260 businesses and organisations have signed up and received a bronze, silver or gold award for services provided through the medium of Welsh and bilingually. The Ceredigion Language Charter is open to every organisation, institution, service club or business in Ceredigion.
“What is exciting about the Charter is that it provides an opportunity for the business or organisation to consider its Welsh and bilingual service and if there is anything additional that could be altered to serve the residents of the county.” says Lynsey Thomas, Cered Manager, “It’s always a challenge within this competitive market, but the Welsh language is a valuable marketing tool for businesses and organisations within Wales and it can be satisfying and rewarding in so many ways.”
The Leader of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, said: “The response in Llandysul has been great with several of the businesses and their customers willing to demonstrate support for the Welsh language. The simplest thing, like greeting in Welsh, is something that everyone in the community can be involved with – Welsh speakers, learners and non-Welsh speakers.”