MEMBERS of the Pantycelyn group of Cymdeithas yr Iaith gathered outside Aberystwyth Starbucks on Friday (April 29) calling on the company to respect the Welsh language.
The action followed an allegation by star soprano Gwawr Edwards that she overheard a member of Starbucks staff told a customer to ‘Speak English or get out’.
The company now denies the incident happened at all.
Manon Elin, chair of Cymdeithas’ language rights group who is also a member of the Pantycelyn group said: “It strikes us as odd that someone, with a high public profile, would tweet about something like this if there is no truth to it.
“But the fact remains that the company, like every other company, should ensure that all staff are aware of the importance of offering a service in Welsh, and that the Welsh language has official status.
“It is the staff’s responsibility to learn Welsh to serve customers, not expect customers to use English. As there was an allegation that an individual’s freedom to speak Welsh was interfered with, which is illegal, we have asked the Welsh Language Commissioner to investigate.”
Councillor Mark Strong who joined the group at Starbucks on Friday told the Herald that they got a far from friendly reaction when they asked politely, in Welsh, to speak to the manager.
Elfed Jones, Chair of the Pantycelyn group of Cymdeithas yr Iaith said: “Cymdeithas has sent a letter to the company’s national HQ about the situation but we felt that something should be done locally too. We encourage everyone to go to local cafes.
“But given that not everyone will want to do so, all staff at Starbucks should have language awareness training, and be provided with Welsh lessons.”
Since the allegation hit the headlines a number of people have agreed publicly that it would be better to buy one’s coffee from an independent local business.
Sam Mackenzie-Grevy of MGs in Aberystwyth told The Herald why people should use her café and other independent local shops: “Local businesses support other local businesses. The likes of Starbucks, Costa, Coffee #1 and Café Nero bring their goods in on big lorries from huge factories far away.
“We buy from a local wholesaler and from local bakeries, butchers and so on. The money circulates in our community rather than being sucked out.”
The Starbucks brand is one of those that have become synonymous with the ‘death of the British high Street’.
An American chain, Starbucks is based in Seattle. The corporation is the largest coffeehouse company in the world with over 800 stores in Britain and 20,891 in 64 countries worldwide. Campaigners accuse the multi-billion dollar Starbucks of killing off local cafés through unfair or aggressive competition.
Ethical Consumer magazine reports that, although Starbuck’s has tried to clean up its image by introducing the option of Fairtrade coffee, the corporation’s image has been tarnished by scandals over tax avoidance.
Starbucks has been severely criticised for paying millions in royalties and interest from its UK businesses to its companies abroad, thereby reducing its UK tax bill.
Bowing to pressure from HM Revenue and Customs, in 2015 Starbucks did pay £8.1m in UK corporation tax. However, that payment was roughly equal to the total it paid over the past 14 years despite making sales of £3billion during that period.
Critics call for Starbuck’s to make its accounts more transparent. Its pre-tax profits for 2015 were £34.2m to the end of September.
In 2015, the corporation’s best paid director was paid £282,842. In the same year a barista earned £6.77 an hour before Starbucks increased that to a new national living wage of £7.20 set by the UK government.
Free parking in Ceredigion for the three Saturdays before Christmas
PARKNG will be free in all Ceredigion County Council operated Pay and Display car parks on the three Saturdays preceding Christmas this year.
The development follows a decision made the by the Council’s Cabinet on 16 October 2018. Parking charges at Council operated Pay and Display car parks will be waived on 8, 15 and 22 December 2018.
The Cabinet Member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services, Councillor Dafydd Edwards said, “Christmas is a very important time of year for many small businesses in our towns. This decision will support people to prepare for the festivities locally and help small businesses compete with the increasing influence of online shopping.”
The decision contributes towards one of the Council’s corporate priorities of boosting the economy.
Development of the Welsh Language at Ysgol Bro Pedr a step forward
A CONSULTATION is to take place on the development of the medium of instruction to Welsh in the foundation phase at Ysgol Bro Pedr, Lampeter.
On 15 March 2018, members of Ysgol Bro Pedr’s Governing Body unanimously agreed to support a consultation on the development of the medium of instruction in the Foundation Phase. In its meeting on 16 October 2018, Cabinet supported and approved the Governing Body’s decision to commence a consultation to develop the medium of instruction to Welsh in the foundation phase at Ysgol Bro Pedr.
Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services and Lifelong Learning, said, “The Governing body’s decision to seek approval to proceed to consultation supports the wider context noted in Ceredigion’s WESP, to see more seven year old children being educated through the medium of Welsh. The decision also supports the Council’s aim to teach Ceredigion pupils so that they are fully bilingual when they leave primary school and to develop this ability during their time in secondary education.”
Currently, pupils transferring from the reception class to Year 1 are taught in separate classrooms. One classroom is taught mainly through the medium of English and the other through the medium of Welsh. Implementing the decision of the Governing Body would mean that only Welsh-medium education would be provided to the end of the Foundation Phase. English and Welsh medium classes would continue in Key Stage 2.
The formal consultation will begin on 06 November 2018 with an opportunity to present views and comments on the proposal or express support for status quo. In addition, drop in sessions will also be undertaken at the school to allow parents to discuss the proposals in detail with members of the Governing Body and County Council officers.
The Cabinet decision contributes towards realising the Council’s corporate priorities within the Corporate Strategy of investing in people’s future.
If the proposal is approved following the consultation, it would be implemented from 01 September 2019. However, pupils currently receiving their education in the Foundation Phase through the medium of English would continue to do so until they enter Key Stage 2.
Margaret Jones: 100th birthday of award winning Ceredigion illustrator
CEREDIGION MUSEUM celebrates the 100th birthday of award winning Ceredigion illustrator Margaret Jones with an exclusive exhibition.
The exhibition Margaret Jones: Celebrating 100, highlighting the career of award winning illustrator Margaret Jones on the eve of her 100th birthday, includes early sketches and unseen drawings owned by the Jones family themselves. The exclusive exhibition opens the door to this famous painter’s art, inviting visitors to discover the ideas, sketches and inner workings of her iconic paintings and illustrations.
The exhibition will feature previously unseen original prints from the ‘Arthur’ series and rare prints from unpublished work including ‘Seven days of the week’, which looks at how the names of the days of the week derive from the sagas of the Nordic Kings and Queens. Archive photo albums and unpublished books will be shown alongside the drawings and prints giving an intimate view of the artist and her life.
Ceredigion Museum’s assistant curator Alice Briggs said, “It has been wonderful to have the chance to delve through the portfolios of Margaret Jones, to discover more about her process of creating her illustrations and to learn more of her own detailed knowledge of the storytelling traditions in which she has illustrated.”
Becoming a professional painter at the age of 60, Margaret became known as one of the leading illustrators in the Celtic tradition and other folklore. Born in England, Margaret brought up her own young family in India with her husband, before being appointed as lecturer in Education Studies at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Here, her portrayal of the Mabinogi has defined the way a generation of children in Wales imagine the folklore of the nation’s past.
Professor Sioned Davies, the former Head of Welsh at Cardiff University, whose ongoing contribution to Welsh language and culture is highly influential, will open the exhibition on Saturday 27 October at 2pm. All museum visitors are very welcome to attend the official opening.
The Margaret Jones: Celebrating 100 free exhibition will run at Ceredigion Museum gallery from Saturday, 27 October 2018 until 5 January 2019.
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