Good Practice Exchange Weeknotes 8-12-2022
The second blog of our Good Practice Exchange weeknotes
It’s December! How did that happen? Christmas is off the leash and is rushing closer to the closest thing we have today to a medieval feast. I have no idea where the year has gone, and it’s already almost over.
On Christmas day the advert shows us that we have a table weighed down by food. It’s all so much, too much food but that’s the point; it’s a celebration of family and togetherness. It’s a bittersweet trip along memory’s lanes at the same time as we’re creating our new traditions and stories.
But that’s only how I see Christmas. I know that it means different things to different people, and it's not always a happy time for all. This Christmas I fear will be one of compromise under the current cost of living crisis, for far too many.
On November 2nd the ‘Time For Change Poverty in Wales’ report was published. Ahead of the report’s publication we held two events (one in Cardiff, and one in Llandudno Junction) discussing poverty as well as the messages from the report. The events were also the first in person events that we had held since early 2020. It was a case of stretching some muscles that hadn’t been used for a while as well!
It was really nice to be in the same space as a lot of people learning, networking and sharing experiences. We received good feedback as well, and we have begun working on our next events.
We know that poverty in Wales is nothing new, but that the cost of living crisis had brought it into focus once again. The speakers at our events were sharing how they were working to understand different aspects of poverty, or to help people in poverty improve their situation.
There is a lot of good work going on, and there are resources from the events available by following this link to our Good Practice Resource page [opens in new window].
It feels a bit odd to be having the World Cup at this time of year. Football Christmas being so close to actual Christmas is a bit confusing. As a Welsh football fan, I am over the moon that we were there for once. I couldn’t go, but I did live vicariously through social media and was stressed in front of the television.
The well documented issues around human rights in Qatar have overshadowed the event as well. I did hear a radio interview from Qatar where a Welsh fan said that one of the best things about the experience was that all the supporters from all the countries were mixing in one city. Interactions between all nations in this way wouldn’t be possible in other World Cups, as they’re spread out over a whole country.
A big part of what we do at the Good Practice Exchange is bringing people together. You never know what will happen in that mixing of minds and experiences, but it can be the seedbed of amazing things. It’s not guaranteed but the chances of good things happening are greatly increased.
The Qatar World Cup may not be the one you would want to qualify for after 64 years of trying, but it’s the one we got. Even with the issues, being part of that cultural exchange and being on the world stage is surely a positive.
Let’s just hope Wales don’t have to wait another 64 years to re-join the party.
Writing this, I had a feeling that I needed another section to round it off. No inspiration that came as I was trying to fall asleep stuck until morning (thanks brain!). I feared that this would go out into the world not quite finished.
But before I gave up, the first 2021 Census results for Welsh Language speakers has been released. The data is available by following this link [opens in new window].
The data shows that the number of Welsh Speakers decreased from 562,000 (19%) to 538,000 (17.8%), falling in 18 of the 22 Local Authorities in Wales. As in the 2011 Census the largest decrease was recorded in Carmarthenshire (43.9% in 2011 to 39.9% in 2021). The largest percentages of Welsh speakers were in Gwynedd and Ynys Môn.
There were increases in the number of Welsh speakers in 4 Local Authorities: Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil.
It’s likely that we will see some soul searching in the Welsh speaking world following these results. Looking out through the window of a culture which often feels under threat, the 2021 Census results are disappointing. That is only an initial reaction though as there is more detailed data to be released. The day of disappointing results is not the time for drastic reactions.
I come to the end of this blog post feeling a little uneasy. Our inner worlds are jostled every so often, sometimes shaken, concussed or even shattered. Something that I hold dear has eroded yet again, a core part of my identity is in decline. The sub-heading above says ‘don’t panic’ for a reason since it’s not time to panic. It’s a time to ponder this new information and how if fits into our world. We will come to a decision on action later on.
I am also reminded of the fact that 20 minutes outside in a place that makes you feel contact with nature helps with mental health and wellbeing [opens in new window]. That’s a good thing to remember at all times, but especially when your world is feeling a bit jostled.
About the author
Siôn Owen is a Knowledge Exchange Officer with the Good Practice Exchange Team. Siôn has worked for Audit Wales for 3 years. Prior to this, Siôn worked at a local authority in North Wales.