Pantycelyn Project Board receives Old Bell 3 report
20 January 2016
Old Bell 3, the company which has been researching into perceptions relating to Welsh-medium accommodation and social space at Aberystwyth, has presented its final report to the University.
The independent report was commissioned in autumn 2015 by the Pantycelyn Project Board, which is coordinating the development of plans for the provision of designated Welsh medium accommodation and social spaces at Aberystwyth University.
The aim of the study was to look into the needs of prospective Welsh-speaking students with regard to accommodation and social space for the next forty years and to enrich the experience of the University’s Welsh speaking students.
The study included an online questionnaire, a series of individual interviews, focus groups with students and staff at the University and in secondary schools and a further education college. Over 600 individuals contributed to the fieldwork which was undertaken during November and December 2015.
Old Bell 3 presented its findings to the Pantycelyn Project Board during a meeting held on 15 January 2016. The full report, as well as a copy of the presentation delivered to the Project Board at its meeting, is available at https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/university/pantycelyn/.
The report deals with the structure of the accommodation and social space that would be available to residents, and considers the growth in Welsh medium higher education, recent trends in student accommodation and specific examples of accommodation for minority language groups or minority groups in other countries.
The Pantycelyn Project Board will now be drawing on the recommendations in Old Bell 3’s report to develop a design brief. This will be taken forward immediately in order to meet the timetable agreed in June 2015 between the Chair of the University’s Council, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, and the student representatives.
The report has been welcomed by Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, Pro Chancellor of Aberystwyth University and Chair of the Pantycelyn Project Board: "I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this comprehensive report. The number and breadth of responses received has been very encouraging and reflects the importance of Aberystwyth University to the community.”
She added: “This independent report makes a number of valuable recommendations and I’m delighted that they have been approved by the Project Board as being suitable for further consideration by architects in order to have the appropriate advice on how these recommendations can be taken forward at Pantycelyn. The Project Board’s next task will be to present a final design brief to the University’s Council during the summer”.
Hanna Merrigan, UMCA President and member of the Project Board, said: “I welcome Old Bell 3’s report and I’m pleased that they consulted widely and took the views of students, staff, and the wider community into account. I hope that it will be possible to realise as many of the recommendations as possible within the Pantycelyn building”.
Neuadd Pantycelyn was built in 1951, and it became a Welsh hall of residence in 1973. Since then, the building has been the focus of Welsh speaking life at Aberystwyth University and has contributed in numerous ways to promote its prosperity.
In recent years, as the need to modernise facilities at Neuadd Pantycelyn became increasingly evident, discussions developed regarding the exact nature of the dedicated Welsh-medium accommodation and social spaces that Aberystwyth University should aim to provide in future, along with a discussion regarding Pantycelyn’s role in that provision.
In September 2015 Aberystwyth University established the Pantycelyn Project Board oversee the work of developing a design brief for the provision of Welsh medium accommodation and social space for students at Aberystwyth University.
The Board was established following a decision of the University Council in June to approve a resolution that underlined the University's commitment to the Welsh language and Welsh culture and to providing designated Welsh medium accommodation. Details of the proposal approved by the Council can be found here-https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/university/pantycelyn/.