Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes new Co-optees

Bòrd na Gàidhlig are delighted to welcome two new co-opted members to their committees.  Kenneth MacIver joined the Policy and Resources Committee and Rob McKinnon joined the Audit and Assurance Committee from February 2023. 

They both bring a wealth of experience to the committees with a wide range of skills between them.

Kenneth MacIver has been involved in Gaelic affairs throughout his life. In his youth, he was involved in Gaelic drama. He worked at the Highland Society and taught Gaelic at the University College (UCD) in Dublin. People are more familiar with him as a broadcaster over many years. He was Chairman of Comunn na Gàidhlig, and of the Stornoway Trust, a member of Comhairle nan Eilean for 10 years and editor of the Stornoway Gazette.

Rob McKinnon has a background in finance and strategy, including a spell in PricewaterhouseCoopers corporate finance division in London and Sydney.  For many years he worked with the Boards and Executives of some of the of UK’s leading companies on organisation design, management processes, consumer insight and strategic decision making.  

He developed a focus on hospitality and tourism, leading delivery of strategic projects for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).  For the past five years he has been Chief Executive of Outer Hebrides Tourism, the destination management organisation for the Western Isles.  This included a much higher profile for Gàidhlig in promoting the islands, including a marketing campaign entirely in Gàidhlig. 

He is a Gàidhlig learner, completing Cùrsa Adhartais at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.  His family is from the Outer Hebrides and he splits his time between Edinburgh and the Isle of Harris. 

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “We’d like to extend a warm welcome to Kenneth and Rob and we know that they will contribute to the work of the committees. They both have a wealth of knowledge in a variety of sectors which will be most useful. We look forward to working with them.” 

Gaelic Awards 2023

Photo: Stevie Walsh

The Gaelic Awards 2023 were held at the Glasgow Marriott Hotel on Tuesday evening. Ten awards were presented to people and groups throughout the country for their work in Gaelic. For the first time, the Gaelic Awards were held as part of Seachdain na Gàidhlig (World Gaelic Week) and celebrated some of the people and organisations who work hard within Gaelic.

This was the tenth year of the Gaelic Awards and there were some changes to the award categories including a new Award for the Content Creator of the Year, an award for Gaelic in Sport alongside the annual awards such as Young Ambassador of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award.

The evening was hosted by Cathy ‘Bhàn’ MacDonald and there were around 150 people in attendance to celebrate Gaelic.

The Gaelic Awards, which are held in partnership with the Daily Record, allow people and groups the opportunity to be recognised for the important work that they do in Gaelic each year.

Màiri MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “There is a lot of work going on in Gaelic and that is growing every year. That is clearly evident as we have received the most nominations this year! We had a great night together as we celebrate the Gaelic language, contributing to the normalization of the Gaelic language and maintaining the wonderful work that is going on in the world through Gaelic.”

The following awards were presented:

Arts and Culture Award – Marcas Mac an Tuairneir

Best Contribution Award – Yvonne Irving

Best Contribution to Media – FilmG

Community Award – Comunn Oiseanach Oilthigh Ghlaschu

Learning Award – Sgioba na Gàidhlig, eSgoil

Gaelic in Sport – Màiri NicRisnidh, BBC Spòrs Gàidhlig

Gaelic as an Economic Asset – Astar

Best Gaelic Content-Creator – Young Scot

Young Ambassador of the Year – Raonaid Kellow

Lifetime Achievement Award – Ailean Caimbeul

Further information:

Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Duaisean na Gàidhlig

Funding for Community Groups

Bòrd na Gàidhlig provide funding to community groups for 60 Gaelic projects.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has awarded over £171,000 to 60 Gaelic projects as part of their Taic Freumhan Coimhearsnachd (Community Grants) scheme – Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s primary fund for supporting organisations in delivering projects to promote and increase usage and learning of Gaelic at community level.

Organisations from throughout Scotland will benefit from the awards, ranging from primary schools and Gaelic groups, to a community circus and a dementia charity.

Portree High School is the biggest recipient following an award of £5,000 towards supporting over 130 pupils currently receiving part of their education through Gaelic. The school says it wants to strengthen the Gaelic community, develop skills, grow confidence in working together, as well as encourage connections with other Gaelic speakers.

Alzheimer Scotland has been provided £4,000 to deliver Fàs na Gàidhlig, developing on their Còmhraidhean sa Ghàidhlig / Gaelic Conversations project, the charity want to keep up the momentum by engaging with people living with dementia and their carers, family and friends and to build on the intergenerational links created with the Gaelic primary schools in Skye, Lochaber, and Wester Ross.

Artsplay Highland has also received £4,000 for their Ceòl agus Ceilidh project, which will enable them to deliver a total of 39 workshops across three Gaelic medium nursery groups within Drumnadrochit, Dingwall and Tain.

Among the many other organisations receiving funding are James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh, who have been awarded £1,750 to enhance their Gaelic offering in the capital.

Glasgow Community Circus CIC has been awarded funds to offer classes in Gaelic for young people between 6 and 18, to learn skills such as trapeze, gymnastics and unicycle, while Kingoldrum Village Hall in Angus has been provided funding for its Gaelic in the Glens project.

Bishopbriggs Academy has been recognised with an award to fund its Gaelic podcast project, while West Primary School in Renfrewshire has been awarded £1,750 to pay for Gaelic lessons for parents who have children in Gaelic-medium education, as well as school staff who want to learn the language.

Friends of the Elphinstone Institute in Aberdeen have been awarded £2,500 for Seinn Spioradail, a year-long touring exhibition with audio-visual material including a digital archive, 15 minute film and website to be launched in January 2024. Meanwhile, the Dingwall Players have received £800 towards a Gaelic artist in residence.

Mairi MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said:

“We are delighted to support all of these wonderful communities as they promote and increase the use of Gaelic at both local and national level. This latest round of funding shows the impact that Bòrd na Gàidhlig has with organisations, charities and community groups across the country as we look to increase the reach of the Gaelic language together.

We are committed to helping organisations deliver projects at a community level that will not only increase the usage of Gaelic, but also engage the next generation as we continue to put the language at the heart of communities across Scotland.”


Bòrd na Gàidhlig runs funding schemes at different times throughout the year. If you have a proposal for a project please email: tabhartas@gaidhlig.scot, or phone 07584 103 944.


­Funding Recipients


Friends of the Elphinstone Institute – £2,500

Fèis Obar Dheathain (Aberdeen Festival) – £940



Kingoldrum Village Hall – £3,500


Argyll and Bute

Tighnabruaich District Development Trust – £2,000

Comunn Gàidhealach an Òbain – £3,000

Air Ghleus – £2,000

Co-roinn Ghàidhlig Mhuile agus Idhe – £1,200

Comunn Gàidhealach Muile – £3,000



Bothan Dhùn Èideann – £3,500

Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland – £3,000

Edinburgh Napier University – £3,000

Àrd-sgoil Sheumais Ghilleasbuig – £1,750


Dumfries and Galloway

Gàidhlig Dumgal – £3,500


East Ayrshire

East Ayrshire Gaelic Forum – £3,000


East Dunbartonshire

Bishopbriggs Academy – £240

Bishopbriggs Gaelic Group – £2,500

CnP Meadowburn – £2,000


East Renfrewshire

Gàidhlig san Dachaigh Glaschu a Deas – £3.700

Glasgow Community Circus CIC – £2,750



Lingo Flamingo – £4,000

The Highland Society of London – £800

Gàidhlig san Dachaigh (Glaschu) – £3,000

Comhairle nam Pàrant Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghleann Dàil – £4,000

Ceòl is Craic – £4,000

Mount Cameron Primary School – £3,000

Comunn na Drama – £3,850



Munlochy Gaelic Group (Black Isle) – £3,000

Knoydart Foundation (Caol and Mallaig) – £3,750

Glenfinnan Community Facilties SCIO (Caol and Mallaig) – £2,200

Dingwall Players (Dingwall) – £800

Fèis Chataibh (East Sutherland and Edderton) – £3,000

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (Eilean a’ Cheò) – £4,000

Gàidhlig san Dachaigh (Eilean a’ Cheò) – £1,000

Alzheimer Scotland – Action On Dementia (Eilean a’ Cheò) – £4,000

Bun Sgoiltean Chille Mhoire agus Stafainn (Eilean a’ Cheò) – £3,800

Ionad Thròndairnis (Eilean a’ Cheò) – £4,000

Àrd-sgoil Phort Rìgh (Eilean a’ Cheò) – £5,000

Urras an Taobh Sear (Eilean a’ Cheò) – £3,000

Meur Loch Abar (Fort William and Ardnamurchan) – £4,000

Fèis Lochabair (Fort William and Ardnamurchan) – £1,750

Artsplay Highland – £4,500

Lairg & District Learning Centre (North, West and Central Sutherland) – £4,500

North West Training Centre (North, West and Central Sutherland) – £1,500

Comann Nam Pàrant Baile Dhubhthaich (Tain and Easter Ross) – £4,000

Fèis Air an Oir (Thurso and Northwest Caithness) – £3,000

North West Highlands Geopark (West Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh) – £2,400



Inverclyde Gaelic Learners Group – £1,000


Outer Hebrides

Urras Coimhearsnachd Bhràdhagair agus Àrnoil (West Side and Ness) £4,480

Dòchas Dancers (Barra) – £4,000

Sràdagan Sgìre Ùige (Uig and Carloway) – £2,500

Urras an Taighe Mhòir agus Comunn Eachdraidh Loch Ròg an Ear (Uig and Carloway) – £3,250

Sruth-mara (Uig and Carloway) – £3,850

Dòrlach – £4,000



West Primary School – £1,750

ClannGàidhlig – £1,800


South Lanarkshire

Thornton Road Community Centre Association – £1,000

East Kilbride Gaelic Group – £2,500

Clydesdale Community Gaelic Initiative – £3,750

Calderglen High School – £3,500



Fèis Fhoirt – £1,200


You can find more information about our funding schemes, including those that are open to applications now here.

See a full breakdown of the projects we have awarded funding on GrantNav.

Gaelic Medium Education

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is aware of situations regarding Gaelic medium education and the need for more teachers to ensure that it can continue to grow.

In terms of education, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has a duty to publish the Statutory Guidance for Gaelic Education. Local authorities have the duty to provide education and responsibilities regarding teacher recruitment and retention.  The Scottish Funding Council, GTCS and universities have responsibilities in relation to teacher training.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig worked with officers at Highland, Argyll and Bute and Aberdeen City Councils to make recommendations on actions that would support the recruitment and retention of teachers and that report was submitted to the Councils last year.  This included recommendations on making teaching posts more attractive through offering permanent, full-time contracts, creating promotion structures and addressing issues such as access to affordable housing.

The second part of the report addressing national issues has been provided to The Highland Council, Scottish Government and others.  According to the most recent SG data, over one-third of those teachers qualified to teach in Gaelic medium are currently working in English medium. You can read the full report here.

In addition to providing advice, Bòrd na Gàidhlig works to encourage people to take up a career in teaching through the #DèanDiofar (MakeaDifference) campaigns promoting teaching and early-years careers, and through collaboration with many other organisations. BnG has a Development Officer (Teachers) who visits schools and universities to bring teaching to people’s attention as a career.

Bursaries are available from Bòrd na Gàidhlig to encourage people who are considering changing careers to train as teachers, for students undertaking Initial Teacher Education, for those who are registered teachers to become Gaelic-medium teachers through immersion courses and support also for probationary teachers.

New Director of Education at Bòrd na Gàidhlig

Bòrd na Gàidhlig is delighted to announce the appointment of Jennifer McHarrie as Director of Education who takes up her appointment on 05 December 2022. Jennifer will lead the education team at Bòrd na Gàidhlig and work with them to lead the education policies of the Bòrd. Bòrd na Gàidhlig provides advice to the Scottish Government on Gaelic Education, works with education authorities and other bodies involved in the delivery of education in order to achieve the Bòrd’s objectives, and Jennifer will oversee the work of the Bòrd in the implementation of Statutory Guidance in the various agencies.

A resident of Carluke (South Lanarkshire) Jennifer has a wealth of experience in both the public and private sector relating to languages and education. She is a graduate of Glasgow University (French/Hispanic Studies) and learned Gaelic as an adult via a variety of different courses including evening classes in Glasgow and Lanarkshire, An Cùrsa Inntrigidh with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and recently completed Glasgow University’s Bliadhna Bogaidh, awarded with distinction. Jennifer joins BnaG from SQA, where she has worked for over 10 years, most recently as Qualifications Co-ordinator for on a wide range of projects relating to Gaelic including delivering the Educational Commitments in SQA’s Gaelic Language Plan, plus co-ordinating and growing Gaelic-medium provision. She has worked closely with teachers, local authorities in the Secondary, FE, HE and CLD sectors and has insight into the complex educational landscape, and also Language Planning and Policy at a national level.  A true advocate for the benefits of bilingualism, she has also worked in Translation Project Management, International Export and been an English Language Assistant in Northern Spain.

Mairi  MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said, ‘We are extremely fortunate that someone with such extensive experience is going to strengthen the education team at the Bòrd. In particular, this will support local authorities and other bodies in realising the benefits of GME in their areas and in meeting the objectives set out in the National Gaelic Language Plan.”

Information Session – GME in Fife

Bòrd na Gàidhlig warmly invites parents and carers to an on-line meeting on Gaelic-medium Education. Come along and find out more about Gaelic-medium and how it can be set up in Fife.

Jim Whannel, Director of Gaelic Education, at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, will deliver a short presentation on the benefits of Gaelic-medium and answer any questions prospective parents may have.

Fife Council promotes the potential provision of Gaelic-medium Education in the area and will co-host the meeting along with representatives of Comann nam Pàrant, the national organisation which offers advice and support on Gaelic medium education to parents.

The meeting will take place on Teams, Thursday 08th December at 18.30.

Update: Registration for this meeting has closed.

Historical Environment Scotland: Responsible Tourism Framework

Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation on Responsible Tourism Framework.

Some of the points raised include:

Gaelic is a national language. Increasing its use at HES’s sites will ensure that they are fully – as per the Framework – “providing visitor attractions that represent Scotland’s identity” and “tell Scotland’s story”.

The Gaelic language is vital to understanding the culture associated with many HES sites. VisitScotland’s Gaelic Tourism Strategy for Scotland – which HES are involved in delivering – states that:

“Gaelic is also embedded in our world-famous landscape and cities with instant recognition for the likes of Loch Ness (Loch Nis), Culloden (Cùil Lodair), Glenfinnan (Gleann Fhionnainn), Glasgow (Glaschu) and Dundee (Dùn Dè) whose names in English remain close to their original Gaelic”.

Increasing the use of Gaelic in, for example, interpretation will help achieve the Framework’s aim to “safeguard authenticity and the sense of place” and thus represent an enhancement “providing authentic visitor experiences”. It would also reinforce that Gaelic is a living language.

The full response can be read here.

National Parks Commission – Stakeholder Consultation

Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation by the National Parks Commission.

Some of the points raised include:

The growth in Gaelic learner numbers and in Gaelic-related tourism represents a tremendous opportunity for new and existing National Parks. Attracting people who use or are interested in Gaelic will produce a more diverse visitor profile – and increase visitor numbers with attendant economic benefits.

The use of the Gaelic language in settings such as National Parks contributes to individuals’ wellbeing.

Language and culture create self-esteem, nurture self-confidence, define identity and improve quality of life. This increases wellbeing for Gaelic users, learners, and supporters – who have great pride in the Gaelic language and culture. Gaelic contributes positively to what these people think and feel about their lives.

The full response is available to read here.

Rising popularity of Gaelic sees Bòrd na Gàidhlig funding scheme for Language Development Officers oversubscribed by 220 per cent

Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s 2021-22 annual report has revealed popularity for Gaelic continues to grow after a new scheme to fund Gaelic Development Officers was oversubscribed by 220 per cent – resulting in the allocation of £500,000 of funding to 21 organisations.

The new scheme is designed to extend the number of Gaelic officers in the island and rural communities and in towns and cities.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig funds a range of organisations who employ development officers, and additional funding from Scottish Government allowed delivery of a new funding scheme open to third-sector organisations who want to develop their Gaelic provision.

The scheme was so popular that it received 30 applications, worth in excess of £800k, compared to an original budget of £250k.

In light of this demand, Bòrd na Gàidhlig agreed to allocate additional resources, double the initial budget, to the fund. As a result, 21 organisations are able to employ Gaelic officers, including Comann nam Pàrant Port Righ and Culture and Heritage and Arts Assembly of Argyll and Isles’.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has also helped fund the introduction of the new SpeakGaelic platform, designed to support further learning of the language.

SpeakGaelic, funded and developed in partnership between Bòrd na Gàidhlig, MG ALBA, BBC and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, was launched in October 2021 as a multi-faceted learning brand, offering the most comprehensive approach to learning Gaelic in a generation. SpeakGaelic offers users the option of face-to-face classes, self-guided online learning, and media content through a variety of platforms – or all three at the same time.

SpeakGaelic is just one of a number projects supported or established by Bòrd na Gàidhlig over the past 12 months, with the return of the #Cleachdiaigantaigh designed with many delivery partners to support those in Gaelic education.

In addition to £4.1m of funding distributed over the past year to 136 organisations, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has also worked closely with 67 public authorities on Gaelic language plans which support Gaelic in the workplace and public life, including five public authorities developing their first plans.

These Gaelic plans are the building blocks which aim to give the language prominence across the country, increase opportunities for using Gaelic and contribute to its normalisation.

Through work with public authorities and Gaelic language planning, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has also increased Gaelic medium resources in the bodies that protect and enhance the environment, such as NatureScot and Forestry Land Scotland.

According to the annual report, the Bòrd received a total Grant-in-Aid allocation of just over £5.6 million – the financial allocation Bòrd na Gàidhlig is required to operate within by Scottish Ministers.

Of that total, £1.7 million covered core running costs, while £2.4 million went to general Gaelic development funds – including community funding for people, projects and groups – and £1.4 million towards the Gaelic Language Plans Implementation Fund.

Mairi MacInnes, Chair, said Bòrd na Gàidhlig is keen to build upon the growing interest and demand for the language’s development.

She said: “Developing and supporting Gaelic – whilst dealing with the fall-out from the pandemic, its impact on individuals and families, communities, and public bodies – has remained our core purpose.

“World Gaelic Week demonstrated effectively the phenomenal increase in interest in using and learning Gaelic during lockdown. The number of learners through SpeakGaelic demonstrate the potential of what can be achieved.

“We continue to stress the importance of the message that Gaelic belongs to the whole of Scotland and we are also aware of the international interest in our language and culture.

“The increased demand for Gaelic across the country presents both an opportunity and a challenge – the language can grow and begin to stabilise but this requires significant additional resourcing.”

Chief executive Shona MacLennan highlighted that continued support for Gaelic speakers is be central to Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s work.

She said: “Support for Gaelic speakers – whether they have acquired Gaelic in their family, in GME, or are adult learners – is the purpose of BnG’s work. We fund a range of organisations who employ development officers to progress the work required and additional funding from SG enabled us to deliver a new funding scheme open to third-sector organisations who want to develop and embed their Gaelic provision. It is vital that we continue and grow, to maximise our impact across all corners of the country.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s audited annual report has also been issued, with all quality indicators fully met and no recommendations made.

Mairi MacInnes said: “We welcome the findings of the new audit report, which confirms the significant progress we have made and will continue to ensure good goverance across the organisation. We will continue to follow guidance and best practice to ensure that we constantly evolving and progressing the organisation to wider benefit the development of Gaelic.”

The Annual Report can be read here.



Bòrd na Gàidhlig response to Scottish Government’s Consultation on Gaelic and Scots and Scottish Languages Bill

Màiri MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s consultation and their ongoing commitment to Gaelic, which aligns to our own ambitions for the language. We recognise the importance of all Scotland’s indigenous languages and their contribution to the cultural diversity of the nation and support measures for Scots within this consultation. 

“The evidence from the recent Scottish Social Attitudes Survey shows that support and demand for the Gaelic language continues to be on the rise, particularly among the younger generations, which will be a significant step in progressing normalisation of the language.

“More and more families are seeking Gaelic-medium Education and a majority of Scottish Local Authorities are now providing or are in the process of setting up Gaelic-medium Primary Education. The latest figures show a 21% increase in the number of Primary school children in Gaelic-medium Education and a 16% increase in the number of Secondary School pupils in Gaelic-medium in the last five years. We firmly believe the new national strategy needs to be led from ministerial level to provide national direction and implementation, with Gaelic education firmly embedded in the new education agencies.  Parental rights to Gaelic-medium education should be expanded and the opportunity to learn Gaelic should be available to all pupils in Scotland through the 1 + 2 Programme as part of an entitlement to learn about Scotland’s rich cultural heritage, which includes the Gaelic language and culture.

“We recommend that the National Plan for Gaelic remains the strategy for developing Gaelic in Scotland. We also recommend that the legal status of Gaelic is strengthened through new Scottish Languages Bill. These will be pivotal in ensuring that Scotland continues to increase the use and learning of Gaelic nationally. 

“We look forward to working with Scottish Government and other stakeholders to inform the next steps in developing a draft bill through the parliamentary process.  We would also encourage others to submit a response.” 

View the full submission here.