Taking the event online did not stop more than 180 members of the Learn Welsh North East provision participating in the Eisteddfod y Dysgwyr (Learner’s Eisteddfod), organised by Coleg Cambria and Popeth Cymraeg.
Entrants submitted their work and performances via photographs, videos and audio files before judges – including S4C star and the evening’s MC Anni Llŷn – chose the winners.
Anni then introduced them during the proceedings, having also been among the deciding panel.
Jeni Harris, Learn Welsh Manager for Wrexham and Flintshire was delighted they hosted the Eisteddfod, despite not being able to do so in person.
“It was a brilliant night, with 187 people joining us for the online event,” said Jeni.
“Everything had been submitted online in advance and the top three in each category were showcased during the event via a slide show, as well as videos and audio clips from those singing, reciting, and acting.”
Among the victors were Rachel Bedwin, who was awarded the chair for her poem on the theme of Gobaith (Hope), and Gwyneth Lewis, who on the same topic received the prose prize for her 500-word submission.
With learners from as far away and Chicago and Prague, Learn Welsh North East is one of the leading language training providers in the country.
Jeni says holding the Eisteddfod virtually brought them a whole new audience and was more accessible, though she looks forward to welcoming classes back to the college and their community venues when it is safe to do so.
“Given the numbers and the positive feedback we’ve had there’s a possibility we will continue to hold some events and classes online – it’s about finding a balance,” she added.
“Throughout the pandemic we have retained our numbers and even attracted new learners, which is fantastic, while still managing to keep standards high and classes interesting and enjoyable.”
Learn Welsh North East was last year labelled ‘Excellent’ by Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales.
Thousands of people in Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire have benefited from the Welsh for Adults provision, which is delivered on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh.
With the Welsh Government setting itself the target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050, Coleg Cambria and Popeth Cymraeg are determined to help achieve that goal.
Visit www.learnwelsh.cymru for more on Learn Welsh North East.