Press Releases 2014-2015

First Minister opens Carmarthen’s new Welsh language Centre – Yr Atom

15.10.2015

The First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM, recently visited Carmarthen (15.10.15) to perform the opening ceremony of the town’s new Welsh language centre, Yr Atom.

Yr AtomThe event brought together a number of people from the area who have supported the venture in order to celebrate this important milestone in the town’s cultural and linguistic history.

The Centre’s main aim will be to develop Carmarthen as a truly bilingual town, ensuring that the Welsh language is seen and heard more often.

Yr Atom will help to create a vibrant Welsh community where local people, of all ages and backgrounds, will be able to socialise in the Welsh language.

In the same way, it is hoped that the Centre will also act as a catalyst for increasing the range and number of activities available through the medium of Welsh elsewhere across town.

Yr Atom, in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council and Menter Gorllewin Sir Gâr, is working closely with the local business community, local groups and organisations to provide a programme of Welsh language courses as well as a large number of leisure activities.

In December 2014, the University was awarded a grant of £355,000 from the Welsh Government's Capital Investment Fund to buy the building in order to establish a Welsh language centre in the heart of Carmarthen.

The University went on to buy a building on the town’s vibrant King Street which has since been thoroughly renovated to include a café, recording studio and a range of office and flexible spaces for social and leisure activities.  The Atom has now been open to the public for several weeks and has quickly established itself as a focal point for Welsh medium activities and events in the town, with a number of community groups and associations, such as Merched y Wawr using the centre.

Yr Atom offers an exciting where people of all ages to socialise in Welsh either by attending Welsh classes or by participating in activities such as yoga organised by Menter Gorllewin Sir Gâr or baby massage sessions organised by Tŵf. Caffi’r Atom is also already proving to be extremely popular, offering high quality local produce in a friendly, Welsh environment.

“Not only does Yr Atom offer the University a presence in Carmarthen town centre but it also provides an opportunity for all Welsh organisations and societies in the area to come together to create a vibrant Welsh community,” said Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor at UWTSD and the University’s lead officer for  the project.

“It’s the University’s wish that the centre develops a focus for the Welsh language in Carmarthen and that it helps to develop Carmarthen as a truly bilingual town.  We also hope that its presence will have a positive impact on other organisations and businesses within the town," adds Gwilym Dyfri Jones.

First Minister of Wales said:  “It’s a pleasure to be here in Carmarthen to officially open ‘Yr Atom’ – one of ten new centres we are funding across Wales.  Our vision for these centres is to see a boost for the Welsh Language for wider activities around communities and it is especially good to see how this is true here already, with so many partners and community groups part of the centre’s roots.  It’s great to see a modern and comfortable place for young people to socialise, learn and enjoy, and all through the medium of Welsh.

“It was also pleasing to hear that the centre is extending out to the wider community and offering Welsh language provision in the workplace that is especially tailored to the needs of individual local companies.  It’s a big boost to the Welsh Language in Carmarthen and West Wales generally.”

As well as being a venue for activities and events, Yr Atom is also home to a number of other initiatives, such as Menter Gorllewin Sir Gar; Cymru FM and Cylch Meithrin Caerfyrddin.

A Weekly youth club will soon be starting at Yr Atom that will be jointly run by Menter Gorllewin Sir Gâr, Yr Urdd and Carmarthenshire County Council, and there will also be an opportunity for Welsh speakers of all abilities to come together for a chat in a space called ‘Y Gofod.’

Iola Wyn, a former journalist with BBC Cymru Wales has been appointed as Manager of Yr Atom, and has already been encouraged by the number of people using the centre.

"I have enjoyed every minute of my first two months in Yr Atom,” says Iola. “Caffi’r Atom has proved very popular and socialising with such a variety of people from all ages, welsh speakers and non-Welsh speakers has certainly been one of the highlights. The Welsh language belongs to everybody, and the fantastic response I’ve received in Yr Atom so far, certainly highlights this,” adds Iola.

The development of Yr Atom comes at an exciting time for the Welsh language in Carmarthenshire with the announcement the S4C Authority have decided to relocate the channel’s headquarters to the University’s campus in Carmarthen.

The Atom offers a unique opportunity to raise the status of the Welsh language in the town and to help ensure that more and more residents - especially young people - use the language in a variety of social situations.

For more information, please visit www.yratom.cymru

Note to Editor

  1. For more information please contact Sian-Elin Davies, Senior PR and Communications Officer, on 01267 676908 / 07449 998 476 or via email at sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk
  2. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was established in 2010 through the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. On 1 August 2013 the Swansea Metropolitan University merged with the University
  3. The University’s Royal Charter 1828 is the oldest in Wales, and it is third behind Oxford and Cambridge in Wales and England. HRH Prince of Wales is the Patron of the University
  4. On 1 August, 2013 Coleg Sir Gâr merged with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Group, however they will keep their own brand. Coleg Ceredigion merged with the Group on 1 January 2014