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A report on the findings of an on-line survey about the effects of COVID-19 on Welsh language community groups, and how they have operated.

To find out how COVID-19 and its restrictions have affected Welsh language community groups, an on-line survey was carried between 14 September and 9 October 2020.

The Mentrau Iaith helped the Welsh Government to administer this survey. They identified community groups that provided opportunities to socialise, volunteer and participate in activities through the medium of Welsh within their local areas. The groups they identified were asked to complete the survey, which gathered evidence on how the groups operated before the pandemic, whether they have been able to operate since the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020 and their expectations for the future. A total of 1,092 responses were received.

Main findings

Before the pandemic

Over half of community groups who responded were run by volunteers alone, with a number of them relying on 20 volunteers or more. Indoor social events were the most common activities to be arranged. Overall, females and those aged 50 to 69 were most likely to take part in the activities arranged by community groups.

Only 2% of the groups that responded reported that they arranged any online activities before the end of March 2020. This suggests how significant a task it was for some of these groups to adapt their activities in light of the pandemic.

During the pandemic

A fifth of the groups (20%) had managed to adapt their activities to operate in some way since the first lockdown began at the end of March. The other 80% may have kept in touch with their group, but had not continued to operate. Of these:

  • 93% stated that the reason they had not continued to operate was that it was ‘not practical to continue under the COVID-19 restrictions and regulations’
  • 28% reported that their ‘members felt afraid or unsafe’; social initiatives/community partnerships, religious groups and Merched y Wawr branches were the most likely to state this as a reason for not operating

For all the activities usually carried out by community groups prior to the pandemic, over two-thirds (68%) had not been carried out at all since the start of the lockdown period.

  • Organised trips, festivals/eisteddfodau, fundraising campaigns, performances and musical rehearsals were most likely not to have taken place.
  • Learning activities (for example, activities for children or those learning Welsh) were the most likely to have been carried out online (31% held on-line), while volunteering in the community was most likely to have been adapted but not held on-line (usually carried out outside).
  • Community groups where the organisers received a salary were more likely to have succeeded in operating compared to groups that were solely dependent on volunteers.

Expectations for the future

62% of the groups thought that they would continue to exist as a group, even if the social distancing rules still applied in a year’s time. Community papers, Mentrau Iaith and Community Councils were most likely to feel able to continue, whilst local interest clubs, choirs, social groups and performing groups felt they were less likely to continue in the future.

When thinking about the future, groups were asked how they would operate if there were no social distancing rules. The most common response to this question was that groups would make small changes, but that overall they would continue as they had done before the pandemic. 31% of the groups noted that they would return to operating in exactly the same way as they had done before the pandemic.

When asked about the kinds of things that would help them succeed in the future, the majority of groups noted the matter of ensuring the safety of their members. Many groups also mentioned that support to develop their use of technology; support to upskill their members to access on-line activities; increased or continued funding, and support to advertise or raise awareness about their groups would help them succeed in the future.

Reports

The effects of COVID-19 on Welsh language community groups: survey results , file type: PDF, file size: 4 MB

PDF
4 MB
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Contact

Lisa Walters

Telephone: 0300 025 6282

Media

Telephone: 0300 025 8099