Launching maps to promote the Welsh language
Two new maps have been launched by Gwynedd Council's Language Unit in order to promote the use of the Welsh language in the county.
Gwynedd Welsh Language Clubs and Activities map
The first map is the Gwynedd Welsh Language Clubs and Activities map which can be accessed by going to the Gwynedd Council website: www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/languageactivitiesmap
This is a convenient point of information for the public about activities, associations and clubs for all ages and interests across the county, which gives people the opportunity to use the Welsh language as a natural part of everyday life.
Gwenllian Williams, Gwynedd Council's Language Adviser, said: "We are very lucky here in Gwynedd that so many volunteers organise and carry out regular activities in our communities, and done so naturally through the medium of Welsh. These groups and clubs are key to maintaining the Welsh language as a living community language.
"This map is a way of recognising and helping to share information about these groups and clubs and making sure that people know where to find different activities within their communities."
It will be possible for any group, club or society that meets regularly to record their activity and meeting location on the map by filling in a questionnaire. This information will then appear on the public map, so that members of the public can search for information by area or type of activity.
The Council is inviting anyone who is responsible for a group or club within their community - be it a sports club of any kind, literary or historical society, Merched y Wawr branch, reading club or walking club - to give their details on the map by filling in the form which can be found on the Gwynedd Council website www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/languageactivitiesmap The club or activity can be suitable for any age as long as it is held regularly.
Welsh Placenames Map
The second map, the Welsh Placenames Mapcan be accessed by going to the Gwynedd Council website: www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/WelshPlacenamesMap
This map has been created in order to develop a living record of verbal, informal names on locations and geographical features throughout Gwynedd. It is part of the Council's Indigenous Place Names Project, and is an attempt to create an easy to use resource which will enable groups, schools and individuals to memorise and preserve some of those unique names that exist on a local level.
The way the map works is that the locations of features (e.g. a field, road, bridge, building etc) can be easily added to the map along with a description of the feature, background information and even a photo. The records will then appear on the map, with the location of the features marked with different coloured dots.
Presently anyone can view the map, but for the time being it will only be possible to contribute to the map by contacting the Language Unit directly on email@example.com or by calling 01286 679629/679469.
Mei Mac, Gwynedd Council's Place Names Project Officer said: "There are a large number of old names for streets, areas, geographical features, bridges and so on that are not on official maps. Yet they are used verbally every day within our communities. They are interesting names and like any place name contain a rich reference to local history and heritage."
With an emphasis on the new Curriculum for Wales on learning about the local area, this map can also be a valuable resource for teachers in order to carry out activities within the class and with the community. Recently the pupils of Ysgol Sarn Bach set out to carry out a project to trial the map.
Nina Williams, Head of Ysgol Sarn Bach, said: "The children of Ysgol Sarn Bach have benefited greatly from working on the "Enwau ar Fap” (Names on a Map) project and have really enjoyed learning about their local heritage. A lot of local names are remembered and retained by the school's children because of it and being part of this project has given the children a real sense of identity."
Councillor Menna Jones, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Welsh language, said: "The two maps are an exciting development that will promote the use of the Welsh language in our communities. The Welsh Placenames map is an opportunity for us to try to protect colloquial Welsh place names and ensure that they are remembered for generations to come.
“The Welsh activities map will help the people of Gwynedd to discover various Welsh-medium activities that are available throughout the county from surfing lessons to a local history society. I encourage everyone to contribute information to the maps and use them."
Image: Mei Mac, Gwynedd Council's Place Names Project Officer showing pupils at Ysgol Sarn Bach the new Placenames Map.