Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy
I am pleased to inform Members that as part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, I have agreed proposals for an Arfor 2 programme.
A budget of £11m is being made available over the 3-year period 2022/23 – 2024/24 to support the programme which will, alongside our wider support package, deliver a range of economic interventions aimed at promoting entrepreneurship, business growth, community resilience and the Welsh language.
We have been working with Cefin Campbell MS, the Designated Member and local authority partners in the spirit of co-production to develop proposals which build on the learning from the original 2-year Arfor programme (2019/20 – 20/21) which sought to pilot a number of activities. The findings of the independent evaluation of that programme have also been key to help shape this new programme.
The Arfor 2 programme, which is to be delivered by the local authorities, will be operational in Gwynedd, Anglesey, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. It will support a number of strategic interventions, including a focus on opportunities for young people and families to enable them to stay or return to their home communities – and to fulfil their aspirations locally.
This programme will make an important contribution to the Welsh Government’s wider Welsh language strategy - Cymraeg 2050 which aims to reach a million Welsh speakers by 2050 and aims to complement existing or planned activity which is of relevance for example Business Wales, Big Ideas, SMART innovation, Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan and other programmes.
The Arfor 2 programme will seek:
- To create opportunities for young people and families (under 35 years old) to stay in or return to their home communities – supporting them to succeed locally by engaging in enterprise or developing a career.
- To create enterprising communities within Welsh-speaking areas – by supporting commercial and community enterprises that aim to preserve and increase local wealth by taking advantage of the identity and unique qualities of their areas.
- To maximise the benefit of activity through collaboration– to ensure that good practice and lessons learnt are shared and that there is on-going monitoring to ensure continuous improvement.
- Strengthen the identity of communities with a high density of Welsh speakers – by supporting the use and visibility of the Welsh language, encouraging a sense of place.
The Arfor 2 programme will also look to promote the learning and sharing of good practice and to broaden our understanding of the links between economy and language, and where relevant housing, and identify those interventions which can make a difference.
Work will now continue on the detail of the proposed interventions, and I will update Members as the programme progresses.