OK, I'm going to butt in and do my impassioned 'drunk aunt at a wedding' speech - those of you who know me will be well used to this by now...
Us Joneses used to dabble in a bit of local politics / ran the voluntary language and housing pressure group Cymuned for 5 years. We were (and still are) very passionate about Wales, its people, communities and above all language. Back then (and until recently) we lived in an area highly dependent on seasonal tourism. Its housing market was crippled by second homes. Its jobs market was poor, and certain pockets of communities within the area suffered from increasing language anaemia. This is why we felt we had to fight.
Our 5 years of Cymuned were filled with passion, enthusiasm, spirit and resistance. Those 5 years were also filled with uncertainty, sacrifice, fear, hate. We marched and protested, stood on streets with placards and received death threat letters. We were having trouble making ends meet. We were even told by a consultant that it was the stress in our lives that was causing our long term fertility problems. I have never in my life experienced so much anger and hatred.
You know that burning feeling you have, the one fuelled by love, feelings of injustice, of sadness and passion? It can be difficult to channel constructively. You fervently want to do something practical and helpful, beyond the keyboard and the odd petition and charity box. But you fear the naysayers and the opposition, pointing fingers and spitting at you in the street, because you’re not sure if your constitution can take it.
My constitution started to suffer. The stress and anxiety was taking over and I couldn’t stand the spitting and the finger pointing any longer.
We eventually let go our tight grip on Cymuned and that’s when our daughter came into being. But our eagerness to want to make a difference to Welsh communities, remained.
SSiW was born alongside our daughter. Aran had spent months doing research, writing course content and exploring marketing and I had spent months baking a baby. We’d had to let go of the mortgage and were living in a bedsit, but our lives were at last basking in a positive glow. The stress had left us and our family was growing.
SSiW is the most positive and fulfilling thing I have ever done. It was born out of love and a need to do good. It was born out of a need to save the Welsh language.
Sorry to be a bit of a hippie, but truth is SSiW is my family. Here on the forum I have so many brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. We’ve shared Bootcamps, meals, drinks, hugs, parties, Eisteddfods, gigs, rugby matches, karaoke sessions, cake and so much more, and boy have we had fun!
The forum has always been a welcoming haven for learners of all abilities who want to join the SSiW family, learners of all backgrounds, of all ages, all religions and races - we don’t discriminate here.
Truth is (and sorry in advance for the swearing) there’s a lot of shit out there and it drives me insane. We live alongside fear and suffering and uncertainty every day, let’s not bring it in here. I’m as much of a keyboard warrior as anyone else (you should see me on Facebook at 12.30am after half a bottle of Pinot), but let’s keep this wonderful forum safe, I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome here, not ever.