I’m a boy from Pontyberem, Gwendraeth Valley, Carmarthenshire originally, but I’ve lived in Aberystwyth since 2010. I studied Human Geography and then a Masters in Environmental and Regional Policy at Aberystwyth University. Following on from my time in college near the sea, I worked for a time as a Research Consultant with a local research company, travelling all over Wales undertaking a range of research and evaluations.
I started my current role as Community Development Officer for Cered: Ceredigion’s Welsh Language initiative in April 2016. This role combines my experience of carrying out research, my passion towards the future of the Welsh language and also the opportunity to contribute my creative and musical skills to benefit others. I enjoy being out and about the place, meeting people and developing local projects. The diversity and flexibility makes the job a labor of love for me.
There’s actually no typical day for me. The nature of my work varies a lot and means that there’s a need to be flexible. One morning at the start of February, I needed to wake up at 5:45am in order to travel to Llandysul to help run a business breakfast. After finishing there, I went into the office at Felin-fach to do work before attending a meeting later on in Aberystwyth. On other days, I may have a meeting in one part of the county, hold a workshop in a school and put up posters in another area, whilst other days mean being by my desk for the day.
The main element of my role is to develop action projects locally or Pwerdai Iaith (Language Powerhouses) in Ceredigion towns to bring local residents together to discuss the Welsh Language situation locally in a holistic way. Through working together, I’m creating thorough assessments of the Welsh language situation in our neighbourhoods. In addition to providing data and useful evidence to Cered and other organisations of the need of Welsh in neighborhoods across the county, the aim of the work here is to encourage residents and local organisations to implement the use of the Welsh language locally.
Pwerdy Iaith exists in each of the county’s towns now but three of these - Aberaeron, Llandysul and Tregaron – are going forward during March to develop exciting projects with the support of Cered.
The theme that rose from the research work for Pwerdai Iaith was the need to liven up the Welsh language in these small towns through holding more nights of light entertainment that are appealing to young people and families in particular. It’s clear from the research that the migration of young people, whose first language is Welsh, to place such as Cardiff is a problem in terms of the continuation of the language over the whole of Ceredigion and the response to this in a positive way is hard. Despite this, I feel that through organising more gigs and evenings full of contemporary entertainment and the touch of youth in these areas would be a positive step in order to make Ceredigion a more appealing place to live, work and enjoy.
In my leisure time, my main obsession is the Welsh rock scene. I compose and perform my own songs under the name of Bwca, and am trying to regenerate Aberystwyth as a destination for live music with Cantre’r Gwaelod Gigs. I regularly travel to enjoy gigs and musical holidays across Wales.
My personal interests have been of benefit for implementing local need and giving support to organise gigs and nights of entertainment. The first of the upcoming gigs to be announced is the Aberaeron gig. On Friday, 16 March, Huw Chiswell, composer of many Welsh classics like ‘Y Cwm’, ‘Parti’r Ysbrydion’ and ‘Frank a Moira’ will be performing at the Memorial Hall, Aberaeron. Past pupil of Aberaeron Comprehensive School, Danielle Lewis will be the supporting act. The young singer plays light music on her acoustic guitar and ukulele and has played in a variety of substantial shows across Wales and beyond. The evening will begin at 7:30pm with tickets for adults at £8 and children under 15, £5.
In addition to these gigs, we’re busy making last-minute preparations at the moment for the St David’s celebrations in Aberystwyth and Lampeter. There will be a St David’s parade taking place in Lampeter for the first time this year held on Friday, 2 March, and we will be coordinating a gig in Victoria Hall on the Saturday. Aberystwyth’s parade will be celebrating its fifth year of existence on Saturday, 3 March. Cered will be holding a day of activities and entertainment for the whole family, called ‘Cered ar y Prom’ at the Bandstand, Aberystwyth. We look forward to seeing you there!
From the Pwerdai Iaith, to the gigs in Aberaeron, Llandysul and Tregaron, to the St David’s day celebrations in Aberystwyth and Lampeter, I have a lot of organising work to do. Follow all the progress and going’s on, activities and other events, as well as news about the wider work of Cered, through liking our Facebook page @ceredmenteriaith or follow us on Twitter @MICered.
Image: Steffan performing under the name of Bwca