It has been an honour to Chair the National Governing Board of Yes Cymru since March and to have worked with a dedicated group of Directors, our new Chief Executive and the team. It has been hard work, but one of the greatest achievements of last year was to steady the YesCymru ship that had sailed perilously close to the rocks at the end of 2021.
It is not exciting work sitting in meeting after meeting making sure the finance, governance and internal structures are fit for purpose, but the end result is a satisfying one. We can be confident entering 2023 that YesCymru has strong, deep and firm foundations upon which to grow and expand its membership, its activities and its effectiveness. This is what we have achieved this past year and I believe the working NGB can be justly proud of all their efforts. YesCymru is powerfully poised to have an even more significant impact on the Independence debate and movement over the coming years.
This year we have also worked with AUOB, with YesCymru providing most of the finance as well as significant organisational support from our Directors and volunteers, in delivering two very successful marches - in Wrexham and in Cardiff. Between these two events it has been estimated that close to 18,000 attended.
This year will be an exciting year, with further marches already in the pipeline but also our first ever conference to be held over a weekend in Aberystwyth in mid June. An opportunity to strengthen personal links within the organisation across Wales, to learn from each other and to improve our fundamental skills as a grassroots campaign organisation. Our biggest challenge remains in moving support for independence up from its present level, at around 30%, to the next stage of over 50% - the best way to achieve this will be by converting the support we already have both within Wales and across the Welsh diaspora, into active membership. This will not only help to finance the campaigning, research and visible marketing we need to ensure prominence for the debate at all times but the weight of membership itself can be a tool to create more political pressure in favour of Independence.
The Article image is of Elfed Williams, the existing Chair of the National Governing Body on the left, with Sion Jobbins, a previous YesCymru chair on the right.