Gaelic set for big boost as public bodies reveal range of new, key commitments

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has today (Thursday 9 August 2018) revealed a series of key commitments from a range of public bodies in Scotland which will significantly accelerate progress in the development and use of Gaelic across the country.

This follows a milestone meeting chaired by Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP, in Perth this morning, at which many of Scotland’s key public bodies were represented.

In signing off on this series of pledges, Scotland’s national agency for the promotion of Gaelic language and culture believes that it can engineer a faster rate of progress.

Each will underpin the objectives of the National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2023 which was launched in April, this year. The new plan aims to ensure Gaelic is used more often, by more people, and in a wider range of situations.

Key commitments revealed today include:

  • VisitScotland will publish the first ever Gaelic tourism strategy for Scotland in the autumn, bringing together the tourism industry and Gaelic more effectively to ensure that each benefits the other
  • Scottish Qualifications Authority, Education Scotland, Stòrlann, representatives of the Gaelic Local Authorities Network and the Scottish Government will support schools in strengthening the secondary GME curriculum by developing a planned approach to increasing the National Qualifications offered through the medium of Gaelic in the senior phase
  • Skills Development Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig will convene a Working Group to consider and take into account the recommendations of the “Gaelic Language Labour Market – The Evidence Report” that was published in June 2018
  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have offered to provide Gaelic learning through e-Sgoil to all local authorities across Scotland
  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government will work together to deliver a community offer in the Western Isles
  • MG ALBA and Bòrd na Gàidhlig will work together on LearnGaelic, the partnership resource for Gaelic learning – this will involve the revision of the website, the creation of new content, and new support for Gaelic adult learners
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise will undertake new research on ‘The Role of Gaelic Language and Culture in Economic and Community Development’ which will further build the evidence base to support new approaches and future planning. HIE will also offer to support Scottish Enterprise in developing their first Gaelic Language Plan
  • MG ALBA will launch Gaelic YouTube material – This will involve what they describe as ‘curated content’ in the form of small sections from programmes – music, comedy, and short film. In addition, ‘digital participation’ initiatives will encourage people to create their own content in Gaelic

Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP comments:

“The Scottish Government has set out a clear mandate for the support of Gaelic. Today’s meeting shows that there is a variety of activities being undertaken by a wide range of public bodies across Scotland in support of the language and it is important that we capitalise upon this to move the agenda forward.

“I am pleased that agreement has been made on these key commitments and I hope that we can all work together to develop further commitments in the coming months.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig chairman Allan MacDonald comments:

“These commitments are to be warmly welcomed. They reflect a deepening commitment from a range of public bodies to Gaelic language and culture in Scotland. Gaelic no longer sits at the periphery of our nation’s consciousness because the cultural, educational and economic benefits are clear.

“These pledges will significantly aid our plans outlined in the National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2023. We look forward to working with our partners across the country in delivering these innovations for the good of the country.”

Views sought to assess demand for Gaelic Language and Cultural Centre in Inverness

Alba Heritage Trust, a local Inverness based charity, is seeking opinions from the local community and interested individuals and groups from other localities, to assess whether there is a demand to establish a Gaelic Language and Cultural Centre in Inverness.  A local heritage building on the riverside, currently on the market, is being considered as a potential location for such a centre.

Impact Hub Inverness has been commissioned to research the level of demand for such a centre in the heart of Inverness.  The first stage in the process of gathering community opinion is an open survey which has gone live today at

In addition, local agencies and community groups involved in Gaelic language development activities will also be interviewed to seek their respective opinions and support. Desk based research will complete the study by the end of July 2018.

The idea of the cultural centre is not new and has been discussed over the years by many groups and individuals, but no targeted research has taken place until now. Some suggestions for what could potentially be available in the centre include a café, book/gift shop, performance space, workshop and exhibition space, Gaelic language classes and an informal social meeting place for Gaelic speakers, learners and individuals interested in the Gaelic heritage of the Highlands and Islands.

Alasdair Forbes from Alba Heritage Trust, explained more: “There are many Gaelic activities and groups that meet locally from parent groups and language classes to talks and events, and we feel a venue of this kind would complement and support all that exists in the area. We also know from the most recent Visit Scotland survey of tourists that 55% of people visiting the Highlands do so because they are interested in the history and culture of the Highlands and Islands.  Successful language and cultural centres exist in places such as Belfast, Derry, Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil and we feel that a Gaelic Language and Cultural Centre in Inverness, the capital city of the Highlands and Islands, would bring added value, complement existing resources and services, and provide a focus for Gaelic development activity within the area.”

This survey work is supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and The Architectural Heritage Fund. You can access the survey online at the web address given above or if you would like a hard copy please contact Mary Riddoch at Impact Hub Inverness on 01463 715533 or by email: The survey is also available in Gaelic. Copies will be made available at the local mod at Eden Court Theatre this Friday 15 June.

New digital Gaelic resource for Young Scot

To celebrate the Year of Young People, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Young Scot have announced a strategic partnership to develop and deliver a dedicated digital Gaelic resource which will be part of  The partnership will also benefit from input from MG ALBA, the partner with the BBC in BBC ALBA, Scotland’s Gaelic television channel.

Funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Young Scot will recruit a Gaelic speaker to help make sure their core services are reaching and benefitting Gaelic speakers and will connect young people from across Scotland to exciting new opportunities to get involved in the language, culture and heritage.

The project which was launched on Monday 30 April at the Young Scot offices in Edinburgh will develop an innovative digital resource; with tailored, bespoke information and opportunities, including relevant discounts, rewards and entitlements for young people using the Young Scot National Entitlement Card for Gaelic and non-Gaelic speakers.

This coincides with the recent launch of the new National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2023 which has as its main aim that more people use Gaelic more often and in more situations.   Promoting the language, learning and using it are the three main ways that will support this aim.

This new resource will create more opportunities for young people to learn and use the language and engage in Gaelic cultural activities. Young Scot will also increase awareness and understanding of their services amongst the Gaelic community.

Shona MacLennan, Chief Executive of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said ‘Young people are critical to the growth of Gaelic and we were delighted when Calum Ferguson, a young Gaelic speaker and MG ALBA board member, became involved with the idea of developing Young Scot resources in Gaelic.  With more people involved in Gaelic medium education, we need to make sure that young people, of school age and older, have access to a wide range of resources which are attractive, interesting and useful.’

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive for Young Scot said: “Having a dedicated resource for young people who speak Gaelic, want to learn more and to explore Gaelic heritage and culture is an amazing way for us to reach even more young people from across Scotland. Young Scot are delighted to be able to promote and support the Gaelic language to all young Scots and ensure our services are diverse, relevant and exciting to all”.

Young Scot are seeking a Gaelic Development Officer who will lead on the management of the initiative. Applications opened on Monday 30th April and will run for 4 weeks.


Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes Scottish Parliament support for Gaelic

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the principal public body in Scotland responsible for promoting Gaelic development, has welcomed the continued cross‐party support for Gaelic as demonstrated in the Scottish Parliament debate today (Tuesday 24 April) and the announcements of funding for a third Gaelic school in Glasgow and Faclair na Gàidhlig, the historical dictionary project.

The debate was led by Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP, and focused on the priorities and commitments in the third National Gaelic Language Plan which was launched last month at the Parliament. The Plan’s main aim is that more people use Gaelic more often and in a wider range of situations.

Allan MacDonald, Chairman of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “It is great to see Gaelic being debated by all parties in the Scottish Parliament and this, following on from the recent contributions by various MSPs in Gaelic during the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage debate, is of immense importance in efforts to normalise the use of the language in Scotland.”

Mr MacDonald continued: “We are delighted to note the announcement of the third dedicated Gaelic school in Glasgow and, as with the opening recently of the Bun‐sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh on Skye, it is a reward for the dedication and tenacity of parents who see the benefits of their children being bilingual. We congratulate those parents who have fought long and hard for this and also Glasgow City Council for their support for the development of the Gaelic language in and around the city.”

In addition to the announcement of the new Gaelic School in Glasgow, the Deputy First Minister also announced a substantial investment for the next phase of Faclair na Gàidhlig, which will be the most comprehensive Gaelic dictionary ever produced.

Allan MacDonald said: “While the opening of a third Gaelic school in Glasgow is a hugely significant investment in Gaelic education, Faclair na Gàidhlig represents a major investment in language learning and development and is one which will provide people with the first comprehensive dictionary of Gaelic. Bòrd na Gàidhlig is delighted to have supported this project and we congratulate all the partners involved and we look forward to working closely with them in the years to come.”

The new Gaelic school in Glasgow, which will be located in the Cartvale area on the South Side of Glasgow, is expected to open in 2019 with the Royal National Mòd, the premier Gaelic celebration of Gaelic language and culture, also set to take place in the city next year.

Launch of the new National Gaelic Language Plan

The new National Gaelic Language Plan, which sets out the framework for the faster growth of the language across Scotland, has been launched today (Wednesday 28th March) at the Scottish Parliament.

The central purpose of the Plan is to encourage and enable more people to use Gaelic more often and in a wider range of situations.  The key messages, aims, priorities and new commitments contained in the Plan all contribute to achieving this increased use of Gaelic.  Principal amongst these are the following:

  • Gaelic belongs to the whole of Scotland
  • Promoting a positive image of Gaelic
  • Increasing the learning of Gaelic; and
  • Increasing the use of Gaelic

Welcoming the Plan John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills said “I am very pleased to launch this new National Gaelic Language Plan which reflects Gaelic’s unique and important contribution to many areas of Scottish life. It is vital that we have clear agreed priorities and continue to work together to increase the numbers speaking, learning and using the language. I would like to commend Bòrd na Gàidhlig for the work they have done in completing this Plan and I look forward to the opportunities for innovation, co-operation and progress prioritised in the plan over the next five years.”

The five-year plan is the result of a comprehensive consultation process with individuals, communities, Gaelic organisations, voluntary organisations, and public authorities.  It is the third such plan to be produced by Bòrd na Gàidhlig – the public body with responsibility for the promotion and development of the Gaelic language in Scotland.

Allan MacDonald, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “The National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2023 is a plan for the development of Gaelic throughout the whole of Scotland.  Appropriately in the Year of Young People, many of the priorities and commitments in the Plan are focused on increasing the number of young people learning and using Gaelic.

“Bòrd na Gàidhlig, with support from the Scottish Government and across the political spectrum, will work closely with partners and communities in rural and urban Scotland to promote the language.   The opportunities for Gaelic to contribute to Scotland’s economic growth through business, education, publishing, arts, literature, drama, media and music will be pursued and will ensure a positive long-term future for Gaelic.”

Amongst the priority areas for the next five years are:

  • Initiatives targeting the use of Gaelic by young people
  • Increasing the contribution Gaelic makes to the Scottish economy across different sectors
  • Increasing the demand and provision for Gaelic education
  • Developing Gaelic medium workforce recruitment, retention, training and supply
  • Gaelic in the family
  • Gaelic Language Plans developed and implemented by public bodies; and
  • Promotion of the social, economic and cultural value of Gaelic

Among those welcoming the Plan was Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council). Convener Norman A MacDonald said: “Despite the challenges we face in terms of population, housing and jobs, the Comhairle has taken advantage of the many new opportunities which have arisen through government initiatives such as the Apprenticeship Scheme. This scheme encourages young islanders to earn whilst they learn and study for a degree in a subject which will be advantageous to them and to us in the future. The Comhairle also intends to participate in the Scottish Government’s Housing Scheme and we hope to see more houses being built in communities across the islands. Nearly three quarters of the land in the Western Isles is now in the hands of the community and over the past few years we have seen the impact that community ownership of land can have in terms of boosting people’s sense of identity and realising the importance of their own language and culture.

“The Comhairle welcomes the new National Plan and is pleased to see the emphasis Bòrd na Gàidhlig has placed on communities. We remain committed to supporting Gaelic and will continue to work in partnership the Scottish Government and Bòrd na Gàidhlig in addition to local groups and communities.”

Charlotte Wright, Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, pointed to one of its key themes – the contribution increasing the use of Gaelic can make to the economy of Scotland. “Following on from the research we carried out in 2014, ‘Ar Stòras Gàidhlig’, we fully support the new commitments to increase the links between the language and culture and economic growth,” she said.

“This is particularly important in communities where Gaelic is spoken by a significant number of people and we are working with them to create opportunities to attract and retain people, in particular young people.  Employment in the creative industries, heritage, tourism and food and drink sectors, and in education are all are positively influenced by Gaelic.

“Considerable opportunities are arising from the language’s potential contribution in helping to drive economic growth in the region. We recognise the potential Gaelic has to increase people’s skills, their employability and the confidence to be entrepreneurial and we look forward to delivering our contribution to the growth of Gaelic in Scotland.”

Councillor Fergal Dalton, Glasgow City Council Administration Gaelic spokesman said: “I’m delighted, on behalf of Glasgow City Council, to welcome the new National Gaelic Language Plan and specifically the focus on learning as one of the key areas for growth.

“Our city is a proud and active promoter of Gaelic education and we’ve seen a sharp increase in demand for GME over the last few years and saw the opening of our second Gaelic primary school last year and the recent announcement of the Glasgow Gaelic school annexe opening in time for the new school term in August to address demand.

“Just last week we were celebrating the news that the Glasgow Gaelic School is the top performing state school in Scotland.

“Glasgow is a diverse community and the Council believes Gaelic is part of all citizens’ heritage and the growth in GME and in Gaelic learning across the city shows how widely the language is embraced.”

Well-known Gaelic singer and chief executive of Fèisean nan Gàidheal, Arthur Cormack, also welcomed the aims of the 2018-23 National Gaelic Language Plan.

“Participation in the arts contributes to Gaelic use among people of all ages,” he said. “The arts raise awareness of the language and give some people confidence to learn Gaelic.  The arts are also important in terms of Gaelic’s economic impact with many people earning a living through the creative industries.

“It is through the arts that many people engage with the language and are left with a positive image of Gaelic at local, national and international level through events and the media.  I look forward to collaborating with various bodies to help implement the National Gaelic Language Plan.”

National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2023

Gaelic focus for Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust)

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) is set to recruit a Gaelic Development Officer as it undertakes a three-year project which will see the Gaelic language and culture being actively supported and promoted throughout the community. The Trust manages 56,000 acres on behalf of the community in the North West of Lewis.

The £102,513 initiative is backed by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The project will see Galson Estate Trust focus on providing a range of Gaelic language and cultural activities which will aim to build on the “sense of belonging” and the interest in Gaelic heritage and culture that exists in the community. It will include increasing access to the language, supporting the learning of the language and addressing the needs of the people who live and work in, and visit, the Trust area either for business or leisure purposes.

In the longer term the Trust, which came into being in 2007, would also aim to explore how Gaelic could act as an asset to help business growth and create employment and opportunities for volunteering in the area.

Agnes Rennie, Chair of Galson Estate Trust said “This project will enable the Urras to work with partners in the community to build on our rich Gaelic heritage and recognise its place as a key economic driver. Organisations such as Comann Eachdraidh Nis and local businesses will be supported to explore new initiatives to develop their enterprise whilst nurturing and strengthening the language in the community.”

She went on to say “It has been a long held ambition of the Urras to find ways to support and nurture the language of the community and a draft local language was created by the Urras and Comann Eachdraidh Nis in 2015.  We are delighted that this new funding package will let us realise that ambition.”

Daibhidh Boag, Director of Language Planning and Community Developments with Bòrd na Gàidhlig said “Bòrd na Gàidhlig places great emphasis on the importance of having strong links with local communities like those served by the Galson Estate Trust. We are delighted to be supporting this project which will address some of the Board’s key strategic objectives in relation to increasing access to the Gaelic language and the learning and promotion of the language. This project also sees the Gaelic language, culture and heritage as being at the heart of the community and its long-term future”

Rachel Mackenzie, Area Manager for HIE in the Outer Hebrides, said: “We are pleased to be supporting this project to employ a Gaelic Development Officer at Galson Estate Trust. Our investment supports the Trust’s vision to promote the Gaelic language as an economic asset within the community. The area is home to one of the highest concentrations of Gaelic speakers and there is potential to grow the contribution the language makes to the economy of the region. We look forward to working with the Trust as it capitalises on the significant opportunities arising from the potential of the Gaelic language.”

Scottish Gaelic Awards 2017

Lifetime Achievement award for Dr Finlay Macleod at Scottish Gaelic Awards

The 5th Scottish Gaelic Awards were held at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow this week (Wednesday 15 November) with over 200 guests in attendance.

The main award of Lifetime Achievement was bestowed on Dr Finlay MacLeod from Lewis who is well known as an author, broadcaster, teacher and historian as well as having many other talents.

The award was presented to Dr MacLeod on behalf of Bòrd na Gàidhlig by Donald MacLeod, Board member of Bòrd na Gàidhlig who said “Dr Finlay has been involved from early on in key developments in Gaelic education, broadcasting, the arts, writing, publishing and much more. Dr Finlay has spent a lifetime studying many of the aspects of life in the Western Isles and he has worked tirelessly on a range of initiatives which have contributed to life in Lewis and further afield. He is an expert on a wide range of topics including chapels, healing wells, place-names, the Lewis Chessmen, island photography, archaeology, the land struggles and the place of religion and education in communities. Over the years Dr Finlay has provided many people with detailed information, advice and, most importantly, encouragement to pursue different projects. Dr Finlay and his wife Norma have welcomed many students, journalists and writers to their home where they provide support, guidance and friendship. Many individuals and groups have recognised the immense contribution Dr Finlay has made to Gaelic. Tonight we recognise the contribution he has made and we are delighted to present him with this Lifetime Achievement Award

Among the other award-winners were Arthur Cormack who was awarded the Best Contribution award which recognises his efforts in standing up to ill-informed and often incorrect media criticism of Gaelic while Pàdruig Morrison from Grimsay North Uist and who is a student in Edinburgh won the Young Gaelic Ambassador award.

The Scottish Gaelic Awards were first staged in 2013 by the Daily Record newspaper with support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and support also comes from HIE, Creative Scotland, MG ALBA and the private sector company Thorntons Investments. The full list of winners can be seen below.

Learner Award 

Organising Committee – Buidheann Disathairne

Arts & Culture Award

Sponsored by Creative Scotland

Alex MacDonald

Event Award 

Comunn Eachdraidh Nis

Community, Heritage & Tourism Award

Sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Fife Gaelic Development Group

Best Contribution Award

Sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Arthur Cormack

International Award

Sponsored by MG ALBA

Robert Currie

Innovation in Education Award 


Young Gaelic Ambassador of the Year Award 

Pàdruig Morrison

Gaelic as an Economic Asset Award 

Sponsored by Thorntons Investments

Fèisean nan Gàidheal

Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr Finlay MacLeod



For further information about this Press Release please contact Murdo Morrison, Communications and Events Manager at Bòrd na Gàidhlig on or 01463 225454 / 07525 893367

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Annual Report published

The 2016-2017 Annual Report of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the principal public body in Scotland responsible for promoting Gaelic development, has been published today (Monday 30 October) at a meeting of the Convention of the Highlands and Islands in Oban.

The report highlights the key developments undertaken by the Bòrd over the past year which have included the development of the third National Gaelic Language Plan; the Gaelic provisions of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 being implemented; collaboration with a growing number of public bodies on the production and implementation of Gaelic Language Plans; support for the promotion of Gaelic language, music and culture nationally and internationally; support for early years and Gaelic medium education; the provision of funding for professional development for teachers and for students undertaking teacher training.

Key outcomes highlighted in the Annual Report include:

  • 52 public bodies with Gaelic Language Plans including Police Scotland, Aberdeen City Council and The Scottish Ambulance Service among those to have had their Gaelic Plans approved this year
  • Over £4.3m financial support provided to 300 organisations through various funding streams
  • 75 0-5 years Gaelic groups running each week in Scotland
  • Increased numbers of children in Gaelic medium primary education
  • Growth in the number of pupils taking at least one subject in Gaelic in secondary school
  • 15,000 children engaging with Gaelic at various levels in schools throughout Scotland
  • Gaelic provisions within the Education (Scotland) Act 2016
  • Publication of new Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education
  • The successful introduction of e-Sgoil in the Western Isles which aims to provide greater online access to curriculum subjects in Gaelic to students throughout Scotland
  • Partnership working with MG ALBA on the development of more resources for learners through and its continued success with over 10,000 likes on Facebook

Commenting on the Annual Report Allan MacDonald, Chairman of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said “Bòrd na Gàidhlig, working together with the Scottish Government and key partners and communities throughout Scotland, continues to present a strong and positive case for the increased use of the Gaelic language and culture, its development and its promotion. We increasingly recognise the importance of Gaelic to the Scottish economy, to the levels of attainment in education and to increasing community confidence and empowerment. While there are undoubtedly some major challenges to be faced, there are also opportunities and as a Board we are confident that, by working together, these challenges can be met and the opportunities taken. The Board wishes to place on record its thanks to the many people and organisations in communities all over the country who work towards a sustainable future for Gaelic. We will continue to support them, in conjunction with key partners, so that the Gaelic language and culture continues to make progress.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I welcome Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Annual Report, which highlights a number of key initiatives it has supported over the past year. In particular it is encouraging to see increasing numbers of children in Gaelic education and solutions being provided to address gaps and support existing provision, such as the e-Sgoil. I look forward to seeing this success built upon as Bòrd na Gàidhlig develops the next National Gaelic Language Plan.”

Allan MacDonald continued “Launching Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s annual report in Oban at the Convention of the Highlands and Islands is particularly appropriate for a number of reasons – Argyll has been the cradle of Gaelic language and culture; economically because of the opportunities that Gaelic offers for economic growth; and educationally as parents in Oban have been calling for a Gaelic school and Argyll and Bute Council has supported them through funding for a feasibility study from their innovative participatory budgeting funding.”

Annual Report 2016-17

Photograph credit: Kevin McGlynn Photography

For further information please contact Murdo Morrison, Communications and Events Manager, Bòrd na Gàidhlig: or 01463 225454 / 07525 893367