Opportunities to learn Welsh digitally during the coronavirus pandemic have enabled mother and daughter, Barbara Raybould and Lauren Black, to learn the language together, even though they live thousands of miles apart.
Barbara Raybould and Lauren Black have been learning Welsh together on Zoom since May. Lauren, who works as a Junior Designer for H&M in Stockholm, found the course run by Learn Welsh North East on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh, and persuaded her mum to do something positive during lockdown.
At the moment, Barbara is living in Coventry, where she’s caring for her father, but she usually lives and works in Wales for part of the week. Until recently, she has lived in Wales since 1982, and has always wanted to be able to know more than just how to say place names. Barbara explains:
“I’ve been working as a Centre Manager at Bryntysilio Outdoor Education Centre, Llangollen for the past 17 years. When I return to work I’m going to practise speaking Welsh with staff who are learning Welsh, and hopefully use the skills I’ve learned in the workplace.’’
Unlike Barbara, who is originally from Ireland, Lauren learnt Welsh at Ysgol Bryn Alyn, Wrexham but hasn’t spoken Welsh since she left school. After searching for a suitable online course, Lauren jumped at the chance to learn the language again.
Lauren says: “I’ve wanted to learn Welsh for a year or two, but it was difficult as I didn’t live in Wales. When I heard about this course, I phoned Mum and we decided to register. There’s no lockdown in Stockholm, but it’s been great to have something to do in the evenings.”
The pair are enjoying the course, and plan on learning more in September, as Barbara explains;
“It has been good to meet new people during lockdown and speaking with Lauren every week has enabled me to practise what I’ve learned and check my pronounciation! Our tutor, Huw, is very positive and gives plenty of encouragement. Lauren and I want to carry on learning Welsh and follow another course in September.’’
New Welsh courses at all levels, from beginners to more experienced speakers, will be starting in September, with most courses held online, as distance learning courses, to begin with. There’s an Early Bird discount of 50% if people book a new course before the end of July. For more information, just go to learnwelsh.cymru
You can read more about Barbara and Lauren in the ‘Hwyl yr Haf’ magazine for Welsh learners, available to read online here.