A Welsh language initiative could see itself leave the management of Gwynedd Council in a bid to attract more outside funding.

A report to be considered by Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet will recommend establishing a task force to identify the best way of ensuring that Hunaniaith – the county’s menter iaith – achieves its full potential over the coming years.

 At present, Hunaniaith is located as a service within Gwynedd Council’s structures but is the only menter iaith in the country which is managed in such a way.

But a report authored by Hunaniaith has proposed potential structural changes including the possibility of greater autonomy which could put them in a better position to obtain outside funding.

As part of their work, Hunaniaith officers are responsible for a wide-range of initiatives to promote and increase the use of the language, including working with a number of local organisations and groups as well as freelancers on various projects for families, children and young people.

But while five members of staff were once employed, since 2015 and with a reduction in the grant received from Welsh Government – from £224,362 in 2015-16 to £166,890 in 2020-21 – the direct staffing under the grant is now equivalent to 3.5 full-time members of staff.

The review found that other language initiatives, however, having been established as companies limited by guarantee – and charities in a few cases –  have been able to enhance their income thanks to grants from various public bodies and charitable funds, projects developed jointly with local government departments, commissions for advisory or project management work, direct fundraising and income from commercial subsidiary companies.

As a result, the recommendation that will be presented to cabinet members on Tuesday will ask for the development of robust business case for the possible options of either maintaining the status quo, changing its status to an at arms-length unit or establishing it as an independent legal entity.

Cllr Nia Jeffreys, the cabinet member with responsibility for the Welsh language, said:  “I’d like to thank Dafydd Iwan for his leadership of Hunaniaith over the years. It is hard to think of anyone who has done more to promote the use of the Welsh language across Wales than Dafydd over many years. He also has experience of dealing with other Mentrau Iaith in all parts of Wales, it is always important that we learn from others.

“I welcome his report and the independent review of Hunaniaith – it makes sense after ten years that we take stock and consider where we can improve. It’s good to read in the review of Hunaniaith’s success in many areas and I thank the staff for their excellent and innovative work.

“Gwynedd is unique in Wales as a stronghold for the Welsh language – this is something we are very proud of and want to cherish and nurture in the future. It is exciting to explore the possibilities and opportunities for doing this and Hunaniath will have a key role in the work across Gwynedd.”

Dafydd Iwan, Chair of the Hunaniaith Strategic Group added: “It is important to emphasise, as Hunaniaith has always done, that the aim is to add to the vibrancy and use of Welsh in the county, support the success of what is already happening and to take the Welsh language to new fields, and to areas where there is linguistic decline.

“Hunaniaith is very grateful to Gwynedd Council for its support from the outset, and is proud of the work achieved. We believe that it is now timely to look in detail at how Hunaniaith will work best in the future.”

 Gwynedd Council’s cabinet will discuss the matter on Tuesday, November 24.