We were given a warm and colourful welcome at the Eisteddfod festival in Tregaron! | Adult Learning Wales

We were given a warm and colourful welcome at the Eisteddfod festival in Tregaron!


Our staff, students and visitors were given a warm and colourful welcome to Tregaron last week as they hosted the annual Eisteddfod festival. Held in the first week of August, the Eisteddfod is a celebration of culture and language in Wales and attracts around 150,000 visitors and over 250 trade stands and stalls.The Eisteddfod in Wales can be traced back to 1176 and provides a natural showcase for music, dance, art, literature and more.

The festival provided a fantastic opportunity for Adult Learning Wales to share what we do as an organisation throughout Wales, as well as recruit potential learners and staff. It was also the perfect time to catch up with some of our partners such as Agored Cymru.

The celebration also provided our AMIF learners with the perfect opportunity to immerse themselves in Welsh culture. The AMIF visit to the Eisteddfod was a big achievement for the project - and a special landmark in the development of our ‘WSOL’ programme (Welsh for Speakers of Other Languages) over the past 18 months! The AMIF visit, led by Siriol McAvoy, Amy Binnell, and Galiya Idrisova (CDCS with the AMIF team), as well as our resident ‘WSOL’ tutor, Sharon Warren. 38 learners and their families, with children ranging from age 2 to 13, took part in the visit.

Hailing from diverse countries such as Hong Kong, Russia, Egypt, and Morocco, and also including newly arrived refugees from Ukraine, most of the learners in the group are part of our AMIF project, for refugees and third country nationals from outside the EU. Entrance was kindly paid for by the Eisteddfod, as part of their widening access remit.
Many of them had already taken our WSOL (Welsh for Speakers of Other Languages) programme, with tutor Sharon Warren, either in Cardiff or online, and were very excited for a chance to put their new language skills into practice!

On the Maes, Sharon gave a Welsh taster class in the learners’ tent, and the learners then had the opportunity to explore the festival and the vibrant music, drama and poetry on offer there. The children loved the Mudiad Meithrin tent and the games and activities in the Pentref Plant; other families had a first aid training session in Welsh at the first aid tent, while others enjoyed browsing the stalls and discovering new Welsh crafts and designs. We also attended a bilingual Welsh learners’ tour of the site, translated into Russian for our new Ukrainian learners by Galiya Idrisova.

Siriol said, “At the end of the day, many of the children didn’t want to leave, asking when they would be able to come back to the Eisteddfod again. Many of the adults and parents spoke about how fun and interesting their day had been, and enjoyed sharing photos and videos of the interesting things they had seen. Even learners who had never taken a Welsh class before were using Welsh on the bus on the way back. One learner, whose children are in the Criw Cymraeg at school, said how much he had appreciated being able to discover and connect a different side of Wales, beyond the capital city, and was impressed to see how many people were using Welsh. Another learner said that going to the Eisteddfod allowed them to truly understand Welsh culture for the first time! Other learners were impressed that they had visited an event mentioned in their ‘Life in the UK’ course book as a major cultural event. All in all, everyone had a fabulous day, in spite of the fresh weather. The learners should be applauded for their energy and enthusiasm for engaging with Welsh and Welsh culture, and they helped to make the day truly memorable!”

To top off a fantastic week, Adult Learning Wales won second prize for the best third sector/voluntary trade stand!

Kathryn Robson, Chief Executive said, “The Eisteddfod is of great cultural and social importance, and it was a joy to see the event so widely supported and enjoyed by many thousands of people from across Wales and beyond. As an Organisation, Adult Learning Wales is proud to be part of an event that celebrates and showcases the immense talents we have in Wales. I really enjoyed helping out on our stand and meeting so many people, as well as visiting such a rich and diverse range of activities on the Maes”.

Jemma Bezant, our Curriculum Development Coordinator (CDC) said, “The Eisteddfod was a great experience! As CDC for Ceredigion it was a great way to catch up with a lot of people and organisations that I had not seen since 2019 and also an opportunity to network with new people from across Wales and spread the ALW message. Collecting the award on stage in the Pafiliwn on behalf of ALW was very nerve wracking but I am proud to be a member of such a great team – well done everyone involved – da iawn pawb”