The National Eisteddfod

2. Questions to the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language – in the Senedd at on 21 February 2024.

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Photo of Heledd Fychan Heledd Fychan Plaid Cymru

(Translated)

6. How is the Welsh Government working with the National Eisteddfod of Wales and Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council to ensure a legacy for the Welsh language in light of the Eisteddfod visiting the area this year? OQ60683

Photo of Jeremy Miles Jeremy Miles Labour 3:03, 21 February 2024

(Translated)

We are working closely with the National Eisteddfod and the council as they prepare to hold the National Eisteddfod in Rhondda Cynon Taf this year. The Eisteddfod, of course, is much more than a festival; it is a three-year project that ensures a legacy that is linguistic, cultural and economic, which is vital. It is a privilege to be able to support a project that makes that a reality.

Photo of Heledd Fychan Heledd Fychan Plaid Cymru 3:04, 21 February 2024

(Translated)

Thank you, Minister. As you can imagine, I'm sure, there is huge excitement in the area that the Eisteddfod is coming, and I hope that everyone here will come to Pontypridd in August of this year. There hasn't been a National Eisteddfod in the area for decades, and many have never experienced an Eisteddfod, so it is a big ask in terms of convincing people of the importance of the Eisteddfod and the clear legacy that we are familiar with in other areas of Wales.

One of the main concerns is that it's happening at Ynysangharad park, which is a wonderful park in the middle of the town of Pontypridd, but is also used by thousands of people on a daily basis, especially during the summer holidays. There are a number of negative things being said about the Eisteddfod at the moment because the park will be closed for, possibly, a number of weeks because of the visit of the Eisteddfod. Now, the Welsh Government has worked with the Eisteddfod in previous years to ensure free access for local people or to have discounted ticketing. Are there any plans this year in order to ensure that that legacy, in an area that is crucial to the growth of the Welsh language, is delivered?

Photo of Jeremy Miles Jeremy Miles Labour 3:05, 21 February 2024

(Translated)

Well, there is high local enthusiasm for the festival. We know about the work that’s going on to ensure that local communities understand the offer of the Eisteddfod. So, there is a Maes B tour that is being held in schools in the coming months, and every year 6 and 7 pupil will have an opportunity to enjoy a show about the Eisteddfod free of charge, and there is a workshop to encourage 16 to 25-year-old women to take a greater interest in Welsh music. Local business awards are happening, and there’s work happening with Interlink to encourage volunteering. So, in many ways, the Eisteddfod is already having an influence and reaching out to the neighbouring communities, and that’s a very positive thing, and in doing that, ultimately, will ensure that vital legacy.

In terms of an affordable or a free Eisteddfod, as I think the Member mentioned, as she knows, the Welsh Government budget is under great pressure, and I have spoken already with the chief executive of the Eisteddfod about the Pontypridd site, and officials have asked the Eisteddfod about possible options for us to consider. I can’t commit to anything at the moment, but those discussions are already happening.