Arfor is a socio-economic network of four Welsh counties, which will work in unison for the benefit and future of the Welsh language. The concept has evolved over a number of years, largely by policymakers and language planners and will embody the counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Anglesey.
With poor infrastructure and a high percentage of the counties’ population living in rural areas, Arfor is seen as a solution to growth in the economy, offering sustainable quality jobs, enticing the younger generation to stay in the area while galvanising the use of Welsh as a community language and securing its future.
It is hoped that Arfor will create favourable conditions for the Welsh language in its traditional heartlands, stimulating the connection between thriving Welsh language communities and a prosperous economy.
Following an agreement between Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, £2m has been secured for phase one of the programme. Gwynedd County Council is currently leading the programme with the involvement of all the relevant local authorities.
The Arfor programme is an innovation fund and will help learn lessons for the future. By engaging with the government, the programme can help create increased quality jobs in these key areas, with a link to the Welsh language in order to encourage resilience and growth.
The successful innovation fund projects are currently in place with the four local authorities working closely with specific sectors:
- Carmarthenshire: A financial support package for businesses exists in Carmarthenshire targeting the food and creative sectors.
- Ceredigion: Fund to be operational across Ceredigion through two support packages ‘Business Start-up’ and ‘Going for Growth’. This is to support enterprises in a number of sectors in order to promote entrepreneurship, create jobs and increase the use of the Welsh language.
- Gwynedd: A number of projects will be developed to support job creation, which includes support for business growth in communities to keep investment local.
- Anglesey: Attention will be given to supporting businesses to develop their use of the Welsh language, support enterprises to grow and to encourage young people to stay or return to the island.