The Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee recently visited north Wales to carry out a series of activities relating to its work. The engagements took into account the Committee’s portfolio and included visits to music and cultural venues and heritage sites. These visits provided an important opportunity to discuss the impact that COVID-19 had on these venues and sites, for instance, social distancing outside of lockdowns and audiences returning. The visit also coincided with the Committee’s inquiry into participation in sport in disadvantaged areas.
’Roofing the world!’
The Committee visited two heritage sites: the Welsh Slate Landscape UNESCO World Heritage Site; and the National Slate Museum, in Llanberis, a landscape renowned for “roofing the world”. Both these projects are referred to in the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government and the Cooperation Agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government. As such, these sites are of great interest to the Committee.
The Committee enjoyed the opportunity to see the impressive slate cutting and blacksmith demonstrations undertaken by museum staff. Members also received a presentation on the cultural, economic and educational impact of the UNESCO designation. This helped us gain a sense of the work and time that went into gaining UNESCO World Heritage status.
Culture in the north-east
The Committee also visited a number of cultural venues in north-east Wales: Saith Seren and Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham; and Theatr Clwyd in Mold. The purpose of these visits was to learn more about the issues facing these venues. Members heard about the unique challenges facing indoor venues. In particular, the impact of COVID-19, and the impact of Government interventions and support provided during the pandemic.
The Committee will consider the challenges facing the Welsh language in the community during the remainder of the Sixth Senedd.
Sport in the community
As part of its inquiry into participation in sport, the Committee visited Dreigiau’r Dyffryn, a grass roots gymnastics club in Bethesda, Gwynedd. Discussions included how the gymnastics club is progressing as we emerge from the pandemic, the cost of living crisis and its impacts on the club, and the club’s plans for diversifying in the future.
The Committee visited the National Outdoor Centre for Wales in Plas Menai to understand the role of outdoor pursuits organisers in increasing participation in outdoor sports. The Committee was delighted to hear about Plas Menai’s offer, and to see first-hand some of the facilities being used. Members were particularly interested in the centre’s sustainability measures, specifically the removal of the old heating system and its work with the Welsh Government on this. The Committee was also grateful for the update provided to them by Sport Wales on the operational plans for the site. The Committee will consider this matter as it further develops over the summer.
A journey to city status
The Committee also visited Wrexham AFC where Members discussed participation in football for different ages and abilities. Members learned more about the club’s role in developing Wrexham’s gateway project. The Committee has since written to the club to wish Wrexham well in the upcoming play-off matches, and to the citizens of Wrexham with its bid for City of Culture 2025. Members hope to catch Rob and Ryan next time they are in town!
The Committee will be publishing its report on its inquiry into participation in sport in disadvantaged areas before the summer recess. To find out more and to follow the Committee’s activity, please contact us at SeneddCulture@senedd.wales or follow us on Twitter @SeneddCultureIR