£500K revives North Wales sailing loft into bistro, boosts jobs and Welsh language

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The financial injection by a local couple, Dylan Huws and Elen ap Robert, has created new life in the ex-sailing loft situated in Felinheli, Gwynedd, generating ten jobs and sparking a revival in the Welsh language in the process.

The establishment, named Llofft (which translates to ‘loft’ in English), has been shortlisted for an accolade at the Gwobrau Mwyaf Cymraeg yn y Byd (Most Welsh in the World Awards) organised as part of the Bwrlwm ARFOR scheme. 

The awards aim to celebrate Welsh in business in the counties with the highest percentage of Welsh speakers – Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Gwynedd, and Anglesey.

Sioned Jones , Corrie Thomas and Dylan Huws at Llofft Bistro in Felinheli.          (Image: Mandy Jones)

Mr Huws, a former TV company owner said: “We felt there was an opportunity to create something special with a building that’s been at the heart of the community for centuries.”

He added: “The Welsh language is very important to us here in Felinheli because it remains a bastion of the language so we’re continuing the tradition of the natural use of the Welsh language within these four walls.” 

The couple strives to incorporate the Welsh language into every aspect of their business.

The team are promoting the Welsh language   (Image: Mandy Jones)

Their menus and marketing materials are mainly bilingual, with the Welsh version first, and some of the signage is solely in Welsh.

Mr Huws hopes their bistro will be a place where the local community feels a Welsh welcome, but also where anyone can come to hear or practise the language.

Mrs Robert, former artistic director of the Pontio centre in Bangor and professional opera singer, shared her husband’s sentiment and expressed their wish to utilise the language in a confident and natural way.

Mrs Robert commented that they felt a sense of pride for both their business and their use of the Welsh language.

A representative for ARFOR, said: “Our aim is to create a buzz around the use of Welsh in a business or commercial environment and how it can help businesses thrive and provide careers for our young people so they don’t feel they have to move away.”

The campaign has so far produced an overwhelming response, with dozens of entries from a range of businesses.

The award ceremony is set to take place at a later date in Aberystwyth.

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