Community pilot is well underway

Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) and Community Land Scotland are delighted to announce that a new officer has been appointed to begin work on increasing community engagement for strengthening Gaelic in the Western Isles and the islands of Highland and Argyll & Bute Council areas.


This follows on from the announcement made in March 2021 that there would be a new partnership to provide funding and community-based decision making for Gaelic development by community landowners, heritage and other trusts.

The successful candidate, Chrissie Gillies from Raasay, will work with Community Land Scotland to both strengthen Gaelic in their own work and membership, and support applicants to develop and deliver Gaelic development projects.

Chrissie Gillies, New Officer

Commenting on the appointment Agnes Rennie of Community Land Scotland said “Chrissie’s appointment and the launch of the pilot will be a significant step in enabling and supporting properly constituted groups, based within the selected areas, to take forward new projects strengthening the place of Gaelic language and culture in the community.”

New officer Chrissie Gillies added, “This is an exciting opportunity to work with communities to develop strong community led projects. I am certain we will have some excellent applications in the coming months.”

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said, “This new approach builds on the strength of the wide range of community trusts already established in the islands who deliver a wide range of economic and social benefits.  It will lead to increased opportunities to use and learn Gaelic in many aspects of island life and is shaped around the recognition in the National Gaelic Language Plan that island communities require different strategies which respond to their specific needs and aspirations.”

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said, “This is a very welcome initiative which builds on, and adds to, the wide range of projects already in place to support Gaelic in Highland and Island areas.

“I commend Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Community Land Scotland for bringing this forward and congratulate Chrissie Gillies on her appointment, I wish her every success with this valuable work.”

The next stage of the project will see a funding scheme launched in the coming months.  Key dates for the scheme will be published on the Community Land Scotland website soon.

This will provide funding at three levels – up to £5,000, up to £15,000 and up to £30,000, with total funding of £125,000 altogether.  The scheme will be open to community trusts, not just land-based, in the Western Isles and the islands of Highland and Argyll & Bute Council areas.   Each trust will be required to create a simple plan which shows how their work will increase the use, learning and promotion of Gaelic in their areas.

Decisions on funding will be made by a panel of representatives drawn from different areas and sectors.  In this way, the scheme will ensure community-based decision-making.

For more information on the funding scheme, please keep an eye on:

New opportunity for contractor 

We are seeking an experienced contractor to research, develop and deliver a new online resource for speakers of Gaelic.

We are seeking an experienced contractor to research, develop and deliver a new online resource for speakers of Gaelic intermediate to fluent) in line with the ongoing development of the #cleachdi initiative.

This resource, entitled ‘#cleachdi Còmhla’, will support Gaelic speakers to use the language in social contexts more regularly, whether online or in person. The contractor (and any sub-contractors) will create and host a new ‘’ website on behalf of Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Visit Public Contracts Scotland website for more information about this contract.

Gaelic Usage Questionnaire

An independent review is being carried out just now on the current National Gaelic Language Plan, led by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. As part of this work, they are researching Gaelic usage.

We’re looking for anyone with a little or a lot of Gaelic to fill in our Gaelic usage survey as part of this review.  This survey is open for 24hrs (from 8pm on Sunday 20th to 8pm on Monday 21st June) and can be filled in here:

These answers will contribute to SMO’s report which will be released in the coming months.

**Privacy Notice –**

Board Meeting – 16 June 2021

Good news for the main Gaelic organisations funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and impressive progress on developing the organisation.

At Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s (BnG) quarterly board meeting yesterday, the board agreed the following:

Extension of 3-year funding agreements

In line with many other public bodies, the Board agreed to extend the current 3-year funding agreements with delivery partners to a fourth year.  A number of factors are behind this extension including COVID recovery, the development of the next National Gaelic Language Plan, and to allow for an evaluation of the community engagement models .

Bringing the Improvement Plan to conclusion

Following extensive consultation with staff, Scottish Government and the external auditors, and linked to the very positive view expressed by Deloitte in January 2021 that BnG had made significant improvements, the Board heard that there were only 7 actions outstanding on this year’s plan.  Of these, only one was from the original Deloitte report with an original timescale of 3 years.

They viewed the progress made in implementing change as very satisfactory and agreed that the current system could be brought to an end.

The Board also noted a range of reports including:

Annual Report on Implementation of Gaelic Language Plans

The second Annual Monitoring Report on Gaelic Language Plans provided a comprehensive picture of progress made by each authority on their GLP.  This monitoring report is an invaluable part of delivering BnG’ functions.

Additional Funding received by Delivery Partners

This report demonstrated that in addition to the £1.6m funding provided to the main delivery partners in 20/21, there was additional funding of £569k provided for other initiatives and projects which they partners undertook during the last three years.

In concluding, the Board paid tribute to the work of the staff during the year and stated that they were proud of the team’s work and were very encouraged by it.

You will find the meeting’s agenda and papers here.

Early Years Education Development

A new pilot scheme, to help develop early years education, has been created by Comann nam Pàrant (CnamP) and Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG), in partnership with Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Three new positions will be created at Comann nam Pàrant, with funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, to assist early years groups – 1 Manager and 2 Development Officers.

This pilot scheme will last a year to begin with, with plans to extend the project if it proves to be an effective way to promote Gaelic in early years education.

The officers will assist and work with local authorities and independent groups in different areas.

Comann nam Pàrant, who are a part of CnaG, will be leading this project as they have extensive knowledge in this field. They have been supporting parents with early years education in GME for many years. Alongside BnG they have also been closely involved in another initiative to secure and distribute funds to early years groups.

Comann nam Pàrant and Comunn na Gàidhlig hope to build on the services already provided by:

  • Establishing an early years assistance team to encourage new parents into Gaelic Medium Education (GME)
  • Creating a stronger relationship between Gaelic and the home; where children return home from an early years session and still hear and use Gaelic – to some level
  • Developing Gaelic language skills at a young age
  • Strengthening established and newly formed groups
  • Creating more learning opportunities for children
  • Developing early years work and groups
  • Assisting in the growth of GME
  • Expanding the number and skills of Gaelic speakers

During the lockdown, families were able to attend Parent and Toddler sessions online.

After discussions with parents during that period, CnamP and BnG officers discovered that even though parents and groups welcomed the new online opportunities, like the Gìog Ort project in partnership with Stòrlann, most wanted the opportunity to meet face to face. Parents have noticed that the lockdown has affected their children’s fluency and early years groups have said that not being able to meet with families to speak Gaelic in a fun setting was one of their biggest challenges – given that as this is one of the best ways to develop language skills.

Magaidh Wentworth, National Director of CnamP, said: “The years 0-3 are very important in terms of GME growth, but also in terms of Gaelic being used in homes and communities. This project will encourage new parents to enrol their children in GME, while also helping those children with their Gaelic language skills as early as possible. It is extremely important that they get the best start so that they can develop strong Gaelic language skills.”

“It is also important to create a strong relationship between Gaelic and the home. It is important that Gaelic is used at home after children return from an early years session. This project will help with that too.”

Donald MacNeill, Chief Executive of CnaG, said: “The sooner young children hear and engage with Gaelic, the deeper their linguistic roots will be, and the stronger their affinity with the language. We are delighted that Bòrd na Gàidhlig approved our application, and we are excited to be creating a new development team for early years education.”

Jim Whannel, Education Director at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “With everything opening up again, Bòrd na Gàidhlig wants to make sure that effective and impactful help is offered to early years groups and parents. It is because of this reason that we decided that this project with Comann nam Pàrant is the best option to develop early years work after the pandemic.

“The Early Years team at Bòrd na Gàidhlig have been working diligently since the team was created more than 10 years ago and the new pilot project, being provided by Comann nam Pàrant and Comunn na Gàidhlig, will build on the successes the team has delivered. In addition there will be a Development Officer at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, within the Education Team, with a remit for national strategic work in the Early Years GME sector.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig will still be running the Early Years Education Grants 21/22 and those groups will still receive information and help from Bòrd na Gàidhlig through this.

The Early Years Education Grants are now open and this scheme will offer help, information and funding to independent early years groups who want to run sessions from August 2021 to June 2022. This scheme will be assessed as usual by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Comann nam Pàrant.

The Early Years Education Grants 2021/22 are open until 3pm on Tuesday 13th July 2021 and you will find more information here:

New Board Member Appointed to Bòrd na Gàidhlig

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Ms Somerville, today announced (26 May 2021) the appointment of Donald MacKay as a Member of Bòrd na Gàidhlig.


Donald MacKay was born and raised on the Isle of Lewis as a native Gaelic speaker. After training as a Mechanical Engineer and entering the oil and gas industry.

“I enjoyed 16 years of overseas assignments where I found my bilingual upbringing was a great asset in adapting to new languages. I have over 15 years of senior management experience, defining and delivering strategic change and growth. Now based in beautiful Aberdeenshire for the past decade, my desire is to see Gaelic thrive as a living language in communities, and hope that my experience in industry and love of the language will be an asset to Bòrd na Gàidhlig in delivering a secure future for the language.”


This appointment will be for four years and will run from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2025.

This appointment is regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.


This appointment is part time and attracts a remuneration of £194 per day for a time commitment of three days per month.


Donald MacKay does not hold any other public appointments.


All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.

Donald MacKay has had no political activity in the last five years.


Professor Ken MacKinnon

Bòrd na Gàidhlig are sorry to hear of the passing of Professor Ken MacKinnon at the age of 88.

Kenneth was on the board of Bòrd na Gàidhlig (Scotland) between 2003 and 2006.  In February 2006, when Bòrd na Gàidhlig was established under the Gaelic Language Act (Scotland) 2005, Ken continued as a Member of the board until 2014.

He was known particularly for his research and publications in socio-linguistics, including Gaelic, census results, other minority languages and language planning, for over 40 years.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig will forever be grateful to Ken for his knowledge and support to the organisation and to the Gaelic language over many years.  Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

Consultation on the future of Gaelic development

Bòrd na Gàidhlig launches consultation on the future of Gaelic development

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is inviting communities to join them in building the next National Gaelic Language Plan as it launches a series of public meetings.

The public body will hold five National Plan sessions throughout June, with the primary aim of gathering further feedback as to how the next National Plan can most effectively support Gaelic development throughout Scotland.

This consultation builds on the questionnaire Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) distributed in December 2020 about initial thoughts on the next National Plan, and presents the findings of a range of conversations with communities over the last year.  The next National Plan is due for publication in 2023.

In line with the objectives in the current National Gaelic Language Plan, BnG is looking to ensure that the impact of support for opportunities to use, learn and promote the language is maximised.

Each meeting is focused on a different community to enable more focused discussion. All meetings will follow the same format.

The separate sessions will be held for Gaelic speakers living in the islands and rural areas, for those living in towns and cities, those who engage with the language online, and for young people. There will also be one session held in English.  In addition, there will be the option to submit opinions via email as part of the process.

Each meeting will be introduced by BnG’s Cathraiche, Mary MacInnes, before a presentation from Director of Language Planning and Community Developments, Daibhidh Boag.

The presentation will focus on the key points from a range of consultations and discussions held over the past year, including: Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s questionnaire on the National Plan, Young People Survey, and its Strategic Funding Consultation, as well and community conversations on Gaelic usage in the islands, facilitated by Allasdair Allan and other MSPs, plus a series of conversations led by Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP.

Mary MacInnes, Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Cathriache, said: “Safeguarding the future of Gaelic is vital to sustaining a massive part of Scotland’s heritage and increasing its presence in Scotland. Bòrd na Gàidhlig works constantly to place the language at the top of the agenda to ensure that it is provided with a strong and sustainable platform to survive and thrive in the 21st century.

“It is essential that more people recognise the importance of the language within communities the length and breadth of the country. These sessions are designed to give members of the public the opportunity to provide feedback and ideas, so that their views can be incorporated into shaping the next National Gaelic Language plan.”

The meetings will take place on: June 7 – island and rural communities; June 9 – young people (4.30-6pm); June 10 – those living in towns and cities; June 14 – online community;  June 17 – English language session. All meetings take place between 7-8pm, unless otherwise specified.

Each session is limited to 35 attendees.  More sessions will be provided if demand is sufficient. The presentation will also be available on the Bòrd na Gàidhlig website, while those unable to attend can submit their views to:

To sign up for the event, visit:

Stakeholder Survey 2020-21

This survey has been designed to get feedback from individuals and organisations we work with. We want to find out what you think we do well and how we could improve our service to you.

We will use the results to identify areas for improvement and act to further develop our work for Gaelic and better meet your needs.

Your responses will be completely anonymous and survey results will be reported in general terms but will not identify individuals or organisations.

There are only 10 questions to answer in this survey and should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Please respond by 5pm on Tuesday 25 May 2021.

Your feedback is very much appreciated.

Fill in our Stakeholder Survey 20-21