New partnership between Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Community Land Scotland

A new partnership between Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Community Land Scotland announces funding for Gaelic development by island community landowners, heritage and other trusts

With some 75% of the people living on community owned land in the Western Isles, and strong links between land, community and Gaelic language and culture, the National Plan for Gaelic contains a commitment to establish a fund, in conjunction with Community Land Scotland (CLS), which supports strengthening the use of Gaelic.  This fund contributes to three Scottish Government strategies – increasing the use of Gaelic, community land ownership and community empowerment.

This pilot, agreed by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, 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.

The first stage in the pilot will be the recruitment of an officer who will work with CLS to both strengthen Gaelic in CLS’s own work and its membership and to support applicants to develop and deliver Gaelic development projects.

Mary MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said:

“This scheme demonstrates Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s long-standing commitment to the Gaelic communities of the islands and the strengths that are well-demonstrated by community groups.

We are pleased to be working in partnership with such a well-regarded organisation as Community Land Scotland and the community trusts which are so important in linking land, language and culture.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Gaelic language and culture is embedded in many of our rural areas and it is essential that we find new ways to protect and support those living in these communities.

“I welcome this new initiative by Bord na Gàidhlig and Community Land Scotland which I am sure will benefit those living and working in our Gaelic communities.”

Ailsa Raeburn, Chair, Community Land Scotland said:

“At Community Land Scotland, we welcome working in partnership with others to strengthen the community sector across Scotland. This exciting new partnership with Bord na Gàidhlig will help community landowners and heritage trusts across the islands, strengthen and celebrate their Gaelic culture and language and we are really looking forward to seeing a good range of innovative ideas coming forwards.”

Gaelic Community Officers Network

Gaelic Community Officers Network

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is pleased that the delivery of a professional support network for Gaelic community officers is about to start.  It will be delivered by a partnership of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, University of Aberdeen and Comunn na Gàidhlig.

There is a growing number of third sector organisations which employ Gaelic officers working with various communities in Scotland. Many of these roles are funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig along with other public bodies, and many of the officers are the sole Gaelic officer within a wider organisation.

The officers work in a range of sectors – youth work, business, environment, arts – and most are employed in Western Isles and Highland, with some based in Argyll & Bute, Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are some 40 f/t or p/t roles.

The network will provide professional development and learning, opportunities for knowledge exchange as well as increasing collaboration and providing peer support.  Following the first year, the work will be evaluated to determine future developments which may include the creation of a vocational programme for Gaelic officers.

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said “We recognise the importance of officers working with a range of communities on increasing the use of Gaelic.  We wanted to provide additional support for them, many of whom are young people, particularly to increase collaboration, peer support and opportunities for professional development and learning.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the Gaelic communities in which the Gaelic Development Officers work. It is important these individuals are given the support and training they need to enable them to meet the expectations of our communities and I hope that this project delivers on our aims.

“I am also pleased to say that the Scottish Government has also provided Bord na Gàidhlig with an additional £150k of funding which will allow more Gaelic Development officers to be recruited to help support our vernacular Gaelic communities.  This will strengthen the support already available in these areas.”

“These officers are extremely important to Gaelic development efforts in the community, whatever specific sector they work in,” said Dòmhnall MacNèill, Ceannard, Comunn na Gàidhlig. “We recognise that their work is challenging and we want to provide them with an opportunity for practical support in their day to day work – whether that comes from simply speaking to another officer in the new network, or from the training and development opportunities we will establish.”

Michelle Macleod, Professor of Gaelic at the University of Aberdeen, added, “I am delighted to be participating in this really exciting initiative. My previous research with community language animateurs highlighted the importance of these individuals in having real impact in Gaelic communities. My research also showed that employees in such a crucial role need supported, as working in a community situation, while hugely rewarding and enjoyable, can sometimes be isolating.  This new network will give individuals the opportunity to come together to support each other and to develop their professional skills in a way that is beneficial for the communities they serve.”

Gillian Munro, Principal of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig said, “We are delighted to work together with our colleagues, at the University of Aberdeen and at Comann na Gàidhlig, to help establish this exciting, new support and training network for Gaelic development officers in Scotland. It is important to stress that this network is being set up solely for the purpose of supporting Gaelic development officers in their work, to provide training opportunities and as a forum where officers can meet and share experiences, and that it is not our intention, or the Bòrd’s intention, to direct the work of the officers in any way. The final goal, at the end of the first-year pilot period, is that we will step back, and the officers will take over administering the network for themselves as their own independent professional association.”

She encouraged anyone working in such a role who has not been contacted yet to get in touch with the lead contact on the project, Tim Armstrong at ta.smo@uhi.ac.uk.

£90k awarded to community projects across Scotland

Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) are pleased to announce that they are awarding £89,520 to community based projects in Scotland through their Taic Freumhan Coimhearsnachd (TFC) funding scheme.

The TFC funding scheme was established to help community groups to undertake projects in support of the National Gaelic Language Plan.

35 projects are to be funded by the TFC scheme for the year 2021-22.

The successful projects include Gaelic language classes, Mòd and Comann nam Pàrant groups and projects which aim to support the Gaelic language. The projects are being run across the country, covering areas such as Inverclyde, Aberdeen, Stirling and the Highlands and Islands. Organisations such as Fèis Taigh Dhonnchaidh, the Staffin Trust and Rural Nations Scotland are planning to run projects with support from the funding scheme.

David Boag, Director of Language Planning and Community Development said:
“The Taic Freumhan Coimhearsnachd scheme contributes significantly to the National Gaelic Language Plan’s aim of increasing the use of Gaelic, by more people, in more situations. We are very pleased to be supporting a wide range of projects and areas which will be increasing the use and learning of Gaelic in communities across the country.

“We understand that Covid-19 has had an impact on the work that groups do in their own communities and much of that work is done online just now. We believe that this way of working will have to continue for now, however we look forward to the return of face-to-face events and projects in the coming year.

“We would like to send our sincere thanks to everyone who is working hard in their communities to increase the use of Gàidhlig in what is a challenging time and we hope that this funding will be very helpful in areas across Scotland.”

The scheme was open for 9 weeks between 10 November 2020 and 15 January 2021.

A full list of successful projects can be found here.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig seeks new Director of Gaelic Education

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the public body responsible for promoting Gaelic language and culture, is seeking to appoint a new Director of Gaelic Education. This role will be important for Scotland in early years and school education and adult learning.

The post holder will be responsible for developing strategic direction for the BnG’s education policy, advising Bòrd na Gàidhlig itself, Scottish Government and other education and learning providers such as local authorities on the BnG’s aims for developing Gaelic education and learning.

Mairi T MacInnes, Chair at Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “The successful candidate will have the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the Gaelic education at all levels – from early years’ provision to adult learning via statutory education and digital technology.

“We work closely with the Scottish Government, Education Scotland and other public bodies, universities and colleges and community groups and the Director of Gaelic Education is at the heart of ensuring this partnership working is successful. The post will be both rewarding and stimulating for the successful candidate who will possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to take forward Gaelic education policy.”

Applications should be submitted to corporra@gaidhlig.scot by 5pm on Monday 22nd March 2021 and interviews will be held online on Wednesday 7th April 2021. The salary is at C2 scale, which starts at £64,057.

You’ll find the job description and application form here.

If you would like more information about the post and to discuss it informally, please contact the Ceannard, Shona MacLennan at corporra@gaidhlig.scot.