New centre to boost Welsh language opens in Port Talbot

A new pop-up centre that promotes opportunities to learn Welsh in the Neath Port Talbot area will officially open at 10.30am on Saturday, 26 January.

Located in the heart of Aberafan Shopping Centre, the aim of Learn Welsh Swansea Bay’s pop-up call-in centre is to provide information about the benefits of learning Welsh and Welsh-medium education, as well as information about other organisations within a supportive network that work to promote the Welsh language and support Welsh learners locally. Visitors can drop in to arrange free Welsh taster sessions so that they can get a flavour of the Welsh courses that are available throughout Neath Port Talbot.

The centre also features an exhibition of the critically acclaimed S4C series, Bang, which was filmed in Port Talbot, where visitors can view a special teaser trailer and pick up a free Bang T-shirt.

The official opening will offer an opportunity to meet the staff of Learn Welsh Swansea Bay who manage the project, learn about the opportunities to learn Welsh, and enjoy children’s activities and entertainment. Also present at the opening will be Politicians, figures from Welsh-medium education and representatives from Academi Hywel Teifi who are responsible for developing studying and research opportunities through the medium of Welsh at Swansea University.

The project to establish the pop-up centre has been made possible through an innovation grant from The National Centre for Learning Welsh.

Dysgu Cymraeg Ardal Bae Abertawe / Learn Welsh Swansea Bay Region Iestyn Llwyd, business and strategic development manager of Learn Welsh Swansea Bay, said: "The main purpose of this centre is hopefully to highlight and develop opportunities for the residents of Port Talbot and the surrounding area to get involved in learning Welsh. We hope to achieve this aim in a visual, open and welcoming way, offering a taste of the provision we offer, the different types of courses and learning resources available, and to highlight what some of the advantages of learning Welsh as an adult are. Whether they’re new or soon-to-be parents; people with a keen interest or pride in Welsh heritage; or people who want to achieve a personal challenge by learning Welsh as a new language or develop more confidence by improving their Welsh, our aim is to be here for them, and to advise, support and encourage them as much as we can."

Efa Gruffudd Jones, chief executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh, said: "Having a visual presence in communities across Wales is a priority for the National Centre for Learning Welsh, in order to ensure that people know about the diverse opportunities available to learn and practice the Welsh language. This vibrant new centre in Port Talbot is a great example of that, and we wish the Learn Welsh Swansea Bay team the very best of luck with this new venture."

Roger Williams, author of the Bang TV series, said: "The team that created Bang for S4C is very proud to support this initiative. The local community was very kind as we settled in the town to film the series, and there was a great interest in the programme and the Welsh language. It's exciting to think that Bang will inspire people to try learning Welsh."