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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 14:17 GMT
New era for language centre
Aled Jones-Griffith
600 Welsh learners come to Nant Gwrtheyrn every year

A language centre on the Llyn Peninsula is hoping a 250,000 development will attract thousands more visitors to the site.

Building work on creating a modern interpretation area in an old chapel at Nant Gwrtheyrn is close to completion.

As well as remaining a place of worship, the renovated building is to become a heritage centre which will include a welcome area and an exhibition.

The development is part of a new drive in the Nant to expand their range of courses and attract more people.

"Like any other business, Nant Gwrtheyrn needs to be financially viable," said Aled Jones-Griffith, Chief Executive of Nant Gwrtheyrn.

Building work at chapel
The heritage centre will open in May

"Welsh courses will always be our main product, but we must ensure we provide for more people.

"We hope to bring in more tourists, encourage more to learn Welsh and raise awareness about the history of the language and culture," he said.

The exhibition will trace the history of the Llyn Peninsula as well as the language in a bid to bring in more local people and occasional visitors.

And it is also hoped the exhibition will help put the language in context for those who do attend Welsh courses in the Nant.

More courses

Nant Gwrtheyrn was established in 1978 in a former quarrying village in a spectacular setting on the north coast of the peninsula.

It was developed into a residential centre for teaching Welsh and for courses looking at the culture and environment of Wales.

Interior of chapel
The chapel will remain a place of worship

In the 1990s, many workers at the Nant were made redundant as the business ran into debts.

But, with more courses on offer and about 600 learners coming through its doors every year, the centre is looking to the future with more confidence.

Last year, a Big Brother style documentary was filmed in the Nant following the trials and tribulations of 16 learners on a two-month course.

The welcome centre will be part of a national network of Tourist Centres run by the Welsh Tourist Board and a new marketing officer has been appointed.

The new building will open its doors in May ready for the summer season.




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