The Future Of Nant Gwrtheyrn

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30 years ago, heroic efforts were made which succeeded in changing the Nant from a completely derelict village into a Centre for learning Welsh. “Byw fyddi Nant Gwrtheyrn – Nant Gwrtheyrn, you will live again” – was the slogan which fired the imagination. And indeed, the dream was realised. Thanks to the support of organisations, companies and individuals, the houses were restored one by one, the quarry steward’s mansion was turned into a learning centre, the Chapel became a Heritage and Activity Centre and the village was re-born.

Nant Gwrtheyrn is a charity, with a Board of Trustees, but one which has had to run the Centre as a business, without regular streams of public funds. Over the years, more than 20,000 learners have passed through and “Going to Nant Gwrtheyrn” is seen by many as the magic potion which opens the door to the Welsh-speaking world, such is the effectiveness of the learning experience it offers. Many outstanding and dedicated tutors have worked in the Nant over the years and at the moment we employ two full-time tutors and one part-time. The schedule of courses, moreover, allows time for the Nant to be used by a number of groups with other interests who appreciate the facilities, the tranquillity and the very special location, and who return from year to year. Caffi Meinir, which provides residents with their meals, is also open to the public, particularly at lunch-time on Sundays, when you need to book in advance to be sure of your place.

The consistent message from learners is – the teaching is outstanding, the location magical, and the food very good indeed. But for many, the residential and leisure facilities are not what they expect today. Furthermore, it is inevitable that the work which was carried out in the 70’s – sometimes by inexperienced hands – is by now in need of further attention.

It is time to invest and spend once again! But this time, before turning to our friends, we have secured very substantial sums of money which will ensure that a large proportion of the renovation plan will be completed, come what may! A variety of grants, worth £2.9m in total, have already been committed. On top of that, a very substantial private gift, in the form of property, has been received from an individual who wishes to remain anonymous. It is this donation which has made it possible for the Nant Gwrtheyrn Trust to dream of this transformation. It has spurred the imagination and given us a practical foundation on which to build. Such is the power of generosity!

The “Nant Gwrtheyrn – the Future” pamphlet describes six phases of development, and you will see that the funding which has been promised is already sufficient to complete three of the phases (and part of the fourth). We are now turning to a wider circle of friends to ask whether it would be possible for you to consider contributing to a Fund which will enable us to complete the project in its entirety within the ideal timetable, namely by summer 2010 – and to ensure that we have enough working capital to make the best possible use of the new facilities. A normal commercial business would at this point look for new investment capital. Nant Gwrtheyrn is a charity, so we are looking for support of a different kind, but for the same purpose – to help us succeed.

The target we are setting for this Fund is £200,000 and every donation received from organisations and individuals will be received with heartfelt thanks and appreciation. As with other charities, the value of each gift can be enhanced by the Inland Revenue, if you are a UK Income Tax payer. The contribution form provides a space to sign to facilitate that process. It also outlines ways in which the names of individuals or organisations can be connected to a particular part of the work. Already, for example, a commitment of £32,000 has been made by Gwynedd County Council towards work on renewing the “Arfon”, “Dwyfor” and “Meirionnydd” houses. Recently, the Trust was the beneficiary of a £1,000 bequest in a will. We would also welcome promises of open-ended or term loans, which could be of particular help at this time.

If you would like to receive more information or if you have any questions which you would like to have answered before responding, you are welcome to contact any one of us by e-mail. Information can also be obtained by phone from Lois Elis, our Marketing Officer.

At a time of general economic depression, this is a wonderful opportunity to look to the future and turn the dream of Nant Gwrtheyrn into a contemporary, solid reality, in the short timeframe of two years. We are aiming to create 32 valuable full-time equivalent jobs for local people in an area which continues to be one of the natural strongholds of the Welsh language.

The contractors are on site, and the sun is shining. Come with us on the journey – be part of our adventure!