Funding in place to boost Gaelic use

Gaelic speaking island resident Shona Macmillan and her husband Calum with baby Mairead.

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A new fund to encourage Gaelic speaking within island communities has been announced.

Land Scotland (CLS) has set up a pilot funding stream for the Gaelic language, with
support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig the government body, to encourage communities to find innovative nways to boost the use of Gaelic in their area.

The Gaelic Community Fund’s purpose is to attract projects that will increase the use of the language in island communities in Scotland, and in particular across community owned areas.

The fund is available to island communities in the Western Isles, Argyll and Bute, and Highland Council area.

‘Gaelic is an integral part of life in the west-coast islands, as well as a national cultural and economic asset,’ says Shona Maclennan, chief executive of Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

‘By creating this pilot, CLS are putting the resources into the communities’ hands.

‘We are delighted to be encouraging the increased use of Gaelic. CLS has a deep involvement with local community owned projects many of whom see Gaelic
as very important part of our heritage and everyday life.’

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is the principal public body in Scotland responsible for promoting Gaelic development. Established under the Gaelic Language Scotland Act of 2005, its remit is to secure the status of Gaelic as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language.

Chrissie Gillies, the new Gaelic Development Officer at Community Land Scotland.

Chrissie Gillies, the new Gaelic Development Officer at Community Land Scotland said: ‘Applications are encouraged to come from a community land/asset owning trust.

‘While such organisations will be prioritised, applications from other geographically based organisations are welcomed. All projects that focus on Gaelic use within the community will be considered.’

Shona Macmillan, a young Gaelic speaking mum living with her family in the Western Isles, says: ‘Having grown up in a Gaelic-speaking community on the Isle of Lewis where I chose to remain to live, work and raise a family as an adult, the opportunity to use Gaelic as an integral part of the community is very important to me.

‘In previous employment I have worked alongside community groups to organise events and activities which require grant funding and the new Gaelic Communities Fund from Community Land Scotland will be a very welcome opportunity for these groups.

I believe it is imperative that we retain and strengthen the use of Gaelic, particularly within younger families in these communities, to ensure the survival and longevity of our language.

‘Access to this grant funding will make a big difference to local groups intent on integrating Gaelic into everyday use in their areas.

‘I have a daughter, Mairead, who is almost a year old and I speak Gaelic to her every day. We will be having a second child in February and have every intention of raising our children in a Gaelic-speaking community.

To know that Community Land Scotland is working in partnership with Bòrd na Gàidhlig is very encouraging and will enable activities where young and old can gather and speak our language together.’