A NEWCASTLE Emlyn organisation which looks to promote the Welsh language and help young people has been awarded more than £470,000 in the latest round of National Lottery funding.

Menter Gorllewin Sir Gâr Cyf, based at Bridge Street, has been awarded £477,147 by the National Lottery Community Fund as part of a £3.5m package announced for Wales.

The charity’s project will offer work placement opportunities for young people across North Carmarthenshire and South Ceredigion, ranging in age from 14-18 year olds.

It will work across sectors to organise volunteering opportunities to raise aspirations and confidence, developing skills to increase employability, aiming to increase Welsh in the workplace and highlight the benefits of Welsh as an essential skill.

The grant, over five years, will fund salaries, project delivery and equipment.

Menter Gorllewin Sir Gâr Cyf, which employs 16 people, is already backed by bodies such as Welsh Government and Carmarthenshire County Council for the promotion of the Welsh language and a three-year project has just come to an end.

The new five-year scheme will look to support around 1,500 youngsters at schools throughout the area and will provide an interactive app through the medium of Welsh, working alongside other organisations and local employers.

Menter Gorllewin Sir Gâr Cyf chief executive Dewi Snelson said: “It’s great news and this grant means we can expand on our service and work with more young people.”

Youngsters can earn incentives as part of the programme. A reward card - similar to an NUS card - gives discounts at 52 local businesses which have signed up to the scheme.

The Welsh Language Commissioner, on hearing news of the award, tweeted: “Fantastic to hear about improving young people's employability skills in west Wales, and the advantages of speaking Welsh in the workplace.”