Written evidence submitted by Urdd Gobaith
In the opinion of Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Wales' largest
children and young people's organisation with 50,000 members under
the age of 25:
- The provision of good-quality Welsh language
programmes is fundamental to establishing a linguistic context
for those who speak Welsh and who wish to learn it.
- It is vital that this is funded to the necessary
- A good partnership already exists between S4C
and the Urdd, but the Urdd would be happy to co-operate and work
with S4C to identify further opportunities for collaboration to
offer opportunities for children and young people, thus developing
- We believe that decisions about the development
of S4C should be made in Wales.
1. The Urdd is an organisation for children
and young people which has 50,000 members under the age of 25
throughout Wales. We hold cultural, social and sporting activities
at a local and national level. We organise eisteddfodau, sports
competitions and maintain three residential centres, where over
40,000 children and young people come to stay annually.
2. Our aim is to offer the children and young
people of Wales an opportunity to live their lives through the
medium of Welsh, developing confidence and respect for each other.
3. We would have serious concerns if the new
arrangements were to be detrimental to the Welsh languagethe
language of many young people in Wales. Whatever the arrangements,
we call upon S4C to develop programming for children and young
people and we wish to co-operate further with S4C to develop the
provision by broadcasting programmes which reflect the Urdd's
4. Adequate funding is vitally important to
ensure that the quality is of good standard. It must be accepted
that creating programmes incurs costs, more costly than, for example,
organising social activity on a local level.
5. S4C is an important part of the linguistic
context in Wales and an integral part of the effort to ensure
language use and that the language is heard and used. S4C is not
simply a television service but part of a language strategy. Language
experts across the globe emphasise the importance of broadcasting
in lesser-used languages in order to reach the audience and show
that the language is contemporary, technologically modern and
thus relevant to the age. Only since the advent of Radio Cymru
in the 70s and S4C in the 80s have Welsh speakers heard the varied
language that exists across the country and this has been vitally
important, as was the case with the English language and the BBC
in the 1920's.
6. The contribution of S4C can be compared to
the translation of the Bible into Welsh which elevated the language
to a very privileged status. It was a new use of the language
and a new mediumit was a crucial development in that age
and a "modern" development. No comparable thing happened
with other languages across Britain or Europe with the result
that the Welsh language survived whilst others have died out.
Therefore the existence of a Welsh channel and radio services
and all other technological media are vitally important to the
7. Artistically S4C has provided opportunities
for the talents of children and young people over the yearstalents
that would not have seen the light of day without the existence
8. The partnership between S4C and the Urdd
has meant we as an organisation have been able to develop young
talents and have provided more opportunities for children and
9. The fact that television is available in
Welsh ensures that the Welsh language is a "normal"
language, in the same way as Microsoft in Welsh normalises the
language, as do international companies that advertise in Welsh;
mobile phones, websites.
10. The fact that there is so much discussion
about the quality of S4C programmes proves that the people of
Wales demonstrate ownership of the channel.
11. The economic contribution made by S4C is
significant especially in Cardiff and particularly in the north
west where the percentage of people who have been employed through
S4C has been a major boost to the local economy.
12. There is co-operation between S4C and the
Urdd on several levels. There exists a partnership with the Urdd's
magazines which have a monthly readership of 30,000 and we are
partners in the Wales Children's Laureate Project.
13. The independence of the channel is vitally
important and the model of deterring political interference has
enabled the development of services that reflect the opinions
of the Welsh audience. As an organisation we receive much praise
for programmes from our Eisteddfod and the Bryn Terfel Urdd Gobaith
Cymru Scholarship. The loss of this independence, and the funding
to maintain it, will be a significant loss to the development
of the language in modern Wales.