Concern over lack of Welsh speakers in social services

Fewer than half the social services workers in Ceredigion can speak Welsh, according to new figures.

Just 48 per cent of the total staff of 757 in the department speak Welsh, members of the social services scrutiny committee were told this week.

“These figures are very disappointing,” said Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn. “We should certainly be looking at increasing the number of Welsh speakers, especially those who are dealing with the public. It is very important that vulnerable people can discuss their problems in the language they are happiest with.”

The figures vary around the county. In Cardigan 58 per cent of social services workers speak Welsh; in Llandysul, 60 per cent; but in Newcastle Emlyn, there is only one worker who speaks Welsh out of a total of nine department employees , who are based at Hafan Hedd and working in mental health.

Cllr Towyn Evans said: “This is unacceptable. It is very important in mental health to have a higher percentage of Welsh speakers available. We must try to make sure this doesn’t happen in future.”

Cllr John Roberts said: “If that one person is ill, you have no-one. This is not right.”