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BCUHB Welsh Learner of the Year Competition

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board are pioneers in the field of Welsh tuition for staff.

Since the conception of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in 2009, the small Welsh Language team were at the forefront in Wales in providing Welsh Language Services in the NHS. Since then, the team has grown and blossomed into a vibrant and forward thinking team, who support the whole Health Board in providing Welsh language services for patients. They, along with the advent of the Welsh Language Standards have helped to raise standards and awareness regarding the necessity for Welsh language services within the NHS.

In 2016, we were the first health board in Wales to appoint our own Welsh Language Tutor, which demonstrates the Health Board’s commitment and enthusiasm for learning Welsh. Since this time, many of our staff have taken advantage of the unique service, provided free to all departments, and have started to learn Welsh or have continued on the journey they started in the community.

In the three years since our tutor started, hundreds of staff have made contact with us, and now we have progressed to providing Welsh tuition 1:1, small departmental courses, general classes provided across north Wales and at all levels of abilities, and more recently, we have collaborated with Work Welsh, who have provided us with additional grant funding to provide additional courses specifically for our staff i.e. on-line courses, intensive and residential courses, which have been invaluable to our staff. Through this grant also, we have been able to employ a Welsh Language Training Support Officer. This collaboration scheme is a unique partnership and the only one of its kind in Wales. We also provide opportunities for our staff to practice what they’ve learnt via chat groups, buddying system and various activities through the medium of Welsh.

To further encourage new potential learners and reward our most committed learners, we want to hold a Welsh Learner of the Year competition within BCUHB which employs approximately 17,000 staff.

The competition will be launched mid October 2019 during BCUHB’s Welsh Language Week, judging to commence January 2020 and a Presentation ceremony to be held during St David’s Day week. We hope to be able to draw in the press and media involvement.

According to the last census in 2011, in north Wales, Gwynedd has the highest proportion of Welsh speakers (65%), but all over north Wales in general, one third of the population are Welsh speakers and the demand for Welsh medium health services is prominent in all areas, including people from rural areas who access services delivered in the east region of north Wales.

Learn more about the project, what you will help to achieve, and what you can expect in return for your sponsorship.

According to the last census in 2011, in north Wales, Gwynedd has the highest proportion of Welsh speakers (65%), but all over north Wales in general, one third of the population are Welsh speakers and the demand for Welsh medium health services is prominent in all areas, including people from rural areas who access services delivered in the east region of north Wales.

As a health board, it is our aim to have the same ratio of staff who are also Welsh speakers to reflect these numbers. As it is sometimes difficult to recruit to certain specialised posts locally, it is important for us to offer Welsh lessons for these post holders, and indeed any post which has contact with the public.

Although the Welsh language is an integral element in the care and support of many Welsh speakers, some groups have greater need to receive their services in Welsh. The Welsh Government has stated within its Follow-on Strategic Framework for Welsh Language Services in Health, Social Services and Social Care 2016-2019, that for these groups, Welsh language is an even more fundamental element of care.

These groups are:

• Children and young people
• Older people
• People with learning disabilities
• Mental health service users
• Dementia Services
• Stroke Services
• Speech and language therapy services

However, communication is vital within health services, and any patient can feel more vulnerable and unable to communicate their true feelings if they are not able to speak in their first language.

Therefore it is vital for us to have enough staff who are able to speak Welsh to fulfil this need, and holding a Welsh Learner of the Year competition will reward the winner and finalists, encourage more learning and draw attention to the Welsh language services we offer our staff and public perception of the Health Board, and in turn draw more potential Welsh learners.

As a team, we are keen to encourage our staff who have only just started learning Welsh or those who have been doing so for some time and are now nearly fluent, in any way we can, and show our appreciation for their commitment.

We need to make the Learner of the Year competition as desirable as possible, one way is to offer tempting prizes for our winner and runners up, to encourage as many as possible of our learners to compete to create excitement and enthusiasm.

This competition will be open to all staff who are learners and at all levels, from beginners to fluent. They will be judged by a panel of adjudicators who will be looking at the impact they have made in the workplace and benefits for our patients by learning Welsh and also, how their lives have changed in the community and at home.

Any prizes we hope to offer will aid further learning, such as Welsh books, magazine subscriptions, residential course, IT resources etc.


• Increase awareness of Welsh education and professional development opportunities
• Boost enthusiasm for learning and take up of opportunities
• Encourage extra effort amongst present learners

We are seeking in kind donations of prizes for the winner and runners up.

Specifically, we would like:

1 x Trophy for winner Already secured!
• 1 x Tablet to aid learning via online courses/ access Welsh media
• 1 x Large cake to be cut in the ceremony and as part of the celebrations and to be shared between everyone present in the event
1 x Residential week at Nantgwrtheyrn Already secured!
• 2 x Sponsored place on a suitable level course in the local community
• 6 x Magazine subscription – Golwg/Lingo
6 x Book tokens for Welsh language books Already secured!

In return for your support, you will receive the following rewards.

• BCUHB has more than 17,000 staff who receive regular communication through our corporate channels. Sponsorship of our WLOTY awards would see your company name featured in all communications with our workforce across North Wales, including email, intranet, e-newsletter and staff app.
• Feature placement on our internal staff intranet page alongside information on the awards
• Feature placement on promotional materials associated with the awards
• A name-check in a wide-ranging schedule of press releases which will be issued in the run-up to the night celebrating award nominees
• Verbal acknowledgement of support on the night
• Opportunity to feature on our social media channels both in the run-up to the awards and on the night. We have more than 14,000 Facebook likes and 10,000 Twitter followers, with sustained engagement with our audience on both channels
• Positive association with the NHS, regarded as one of the UK's strongest, most trusted brands, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, the largest single employer in North Wales, and Awyr Las, the North Wales NHS charity
• Opportunity to present an award of your choice on the night

Enquire now about sponsoring the BCUHB Welsh Learner of the Year Competition

Complete the form below and a member of the Awyr Las Support Team will contact you to discuss the sponsorship opportunity.

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