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Funding to support Gaelic
Gaelic development body Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) is to use £150,000 of its Scottish Government funding as a Challenge Fund to support projects promoting the use of Gaelic in communities.
The Challenge Fund supports the Scottish Government's priorities for preservation and promotion of the language, set out in the National Plan for Gaelic.
Speaking at the first national Gaelic in the Community conference in Breasclete, Lewis, Culture Minister Linda Fabiani said:
"This funding will enable BnG to take forward new projects that are central to strengthening Gaelic in the community. I am delighted at this focus on a community-based approach to preserving and extending the language.
"Gaelic is a national language. We must recognise it on that basis and support it across all our communities, from areas where it is well established, to others where it is growing - such as parts of urban Scotland.
"The Scottish Government is committed to securing a sustainable and successful future for Gaelic in Scotland and the release of this funding to Bòrd na Gàidhlig is yet another step towards achieving that goal."
BnG Interim Chairman Arthur Cormack said:
"Bòrd na Gàidhlig is happy to have partnered with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in organising this conference and we hope that we will begin to get a steer from the day as to the interventions necessary to ensure Gaelic's continued and increased use in different kinds of communities across Scotland.
"Although we still have 'traditional' Gaelic communities, where a majority of people speak Gaelic, there are an increasing number of smaller communities within urban areas where Gaelic is used regularly. We need to look at ways of supporting all kinds of Gaelic communities but perhaps look at special measures in the traditional Gaelic-speaking communities.
"We welcome the start of this conversation, the Minister's involvement in that and the continuing support of the Scottish Government in assisting us to promote Gaelic and extend its reach and influence.
"The release of funds from the Scottish Government is, of course, very welcome and will enable us to deliver more of the measures in the National Plan for Gaelic."
The Gaelic in the Community conference at Breasclete in Lewis has been organised by BnG and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. The conference's main aim is to discuss the key steps required to strengthen Gaelic in communities where it has a high profile, and across Scotland as a whole.
At the conference, Ms Fabiani will ask delegates for their views on what works for Gaelic, and task BnG to consider these views and build them into future strategies.
Gaelic is an integral part of Scotland's cultural identity and the Scottish Government is committed to building a sustainable and successful future for the language. The Scottish Government continues to pursue initiatives which raise the status of Gaelic, ensure Gaelic learning is valued and create opportunities for its use in a wide range of contexts.
A key commitment of the Scottish Government is to increase the place of Gaelic in education, to improve the status of the Gaelic language throughout Scotland and to support Gaelic speaking communities.
The National Plan for Gaelic contains a list of priority areas and captures many Scottish Government pre-election commitments on Gaelic including a focus on areas such as the home, community, education, economic development, identity, education and the arts.
The Scottish Government gave a cash boost of £24.5million to Gaelic for 2008/09 - allocated from Spending Review 07 - included £1million to BnG.
The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 sets out three main aims for Bòrd na Gàidhlig:
- To increase the number of persons who are able to use and understand the Gaelic language
- To encourage the use and understanding of the Gaelic language
- To facilitate access, in Scotland and elsewhere, to the Gaelic language and Gaelic culture