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5 September 05
New Phonics Scheme for Gaelic
Gaelic pupils starting school this session will have access to a brand new Phonics scheme which it is hoped will greatly help in the teaching of reading. The new scheme, Facal agus Fuaim, has been written by Gena MacLean and Donald John MacLeod of Highland Council and published by St˛rlann NÓiseanta na GÓidhlig, the National Gaelic Resource Centre.

       The importance of phonics in the teaching of reading in all languages is now widely recognised and teachers have warmly welcomed the publication of Facal agus Fuaim, the first time such a scheme has been available to Gaelic education. "Gaelic has a more complex sound system than English, with many more sounds", explains Dr MacLeod, "so it was important to produce original materials centred on an understanding of Gaelic phonetics. We feel it will very much assist in the teaching of Gaelic reading."

        The new scheme, which uses the principle of synthetic phonics, was based on original research undertaken by Ionad Chaluim Chille ╠le, the Gaelic centre on Islay, and was published as part of the inter-authority funded publications programme produced by St˛rlann each year. It includes teachers' notes, an extensive folder of classroom materials, colour workbooks for pupils and a book of rhymes. These items are complemented by a CD, funded by B˛rd na GÓidhlig, which gives pupils the opportunity to listen to key Gaelic sounds as well as to have some fun trying out various activities and games. "We have had very good feedback already on the scheme", says Mairead MacDonald, Director of St˛rlann. "Teachers have been very enthusiastic and I'm sure the pupils will enjoy using the new materials."

        B˛rd na GÓidhlig has now provided further funding to allow more CDs to be produced, covering more sounds.

Facal agus Fuaim - goireas ¨r aig sgoiltean GÓidhlig
Tha goireas GÓidhlig gu tur ¨r aig clann a tha a' t˛iseachadh san sgoil am-bliadhna - sgeama fuaimneachaidh a thathar an d¨il a chuidicheas gu m˛r le teagasg leughaidh. Chaidh an sgeama ¨r, Facal agus Fuaim, a sgrýobhadh le Gena NicIlleathain agus D˛mhnall Iain MacLe˛id bho Chomhairle na GÓidhealtachd agus chaidh fhoillseachadh le St˛rlann NÓiseanta na GÓidhlig.

        Tha nise tuigse ann cho cudromach 's a tha fuaimneachadh ann an teagasg leughaidh agus tha tidsearan a' cur fÓilte air foillseachadh Facal agus Fuaim, a' chiad uair a tha sgeama den t-se˛rsa seo air a bhith ann am foghlam GÓidhlig. "Tha siostam fuaime na GÓidhlig nas ioma-fhillte na Beurla, le m˛ran a bharrachd fhuaimean", mhýnich an t-Ollamh D˛mhnall Iain MacLe˛id, co-¨ghdar nan stuthan, "agus mar sin bha e cudromach gum biodh stuthan ¨ra air an ullachadh stŔidhichte air bunait na GÓidhlig. Tha sinn a' smaoineachadh gum bi e na chuideachadh m˛r do theagasg leughaidh."

       Tha an sgeama ¨r stŔidhichte air rannsachadh a chaidh a dhŔanamh le Ionad Chaluim Chille ╠le agus chaidh fhoillseachadh mar phÓirt den phr˛gram foillseachaidh a tha St˛rlann a' deasachadh Ós leth nan ¨ghdarrasan ionadail gach bliadhna. Tha e a' gabhail a-steach n˛taichean tidsear, pasgan m˛r de stuthan clas, leabhraichean-obrach do sgoilearan agus leabhar rannan. An cois nan stuthan sin tha CD, a mhaoinich B˛rd na GÓidhlig, a tha a' toirt cothrom do sgoilearan Ŕisteachd ri na fuaimean GÓidhlig agus air beagan fealla-dhÓ fhaighinn a' feuchainn a-mach diofar ghnýomhan is gheamannan. "Tha tidsearan air deagh mholadh a dhŔanamh air an sgeama mar-thÓ," thuirt Mairead Dh˛mhnallach, Sti¨iriche St˛rlann, "agus tha sinn cinnteach gun c˛rd e ris a' chloinn cuideachd."

Tha B˛rd na GÓidhlig a-nis air tuilleadh maoineachaidh a thoirt seachad gus am faighear air CDs eile a dhŔanamh, a' c˛mhdachadh tuilleadh fhuaimean.

         15 August 05
Scottish Outdoor Access Code now available online in Gaelic
A Gaelic version of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, developed and launched last year by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is now available online.

      The Code provides guidance on responsible behaviour for recreational users, and on the responsible management of land in relation to public access.

     Scotland's outdoors contributes to quality of life health, and environmental education. Everyone has the right to be on most land and water for recreation, education and for going from place to place, providing they act responsibly.  These rights and responsibilities are explained further in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. A leaflet, summarising the code is now also available in Gaelic.

        Mairi Gillies, SNH's Gaelic communication officer said: "As an organisation which conducts much of its business in rural Scotland, including many Gaelic speaking areas SNH is a strong supporter of the language. It's great to be able to increase the amount of Gaelic we use, particularly in publications, and I am sure the Gaelic version of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code will be a welcome addition to the increasing amount of material now available in Gaelic.

        The full Gaelic version of the SOAC can be downloaded from the SNH website www.snh.org.uk/gaelic

        17 June 05
At the end of last week OFCOM announced their plans for Gaelic broadcasting. They have given ITV permission to cut its commitments to regional TV programming. This means that Scottish Media Group will be broadcasting only 6 hrs of Gaelic programmes per year in peak viewing times instead of the present 26 hours.

OFCOM say that the best way to serve the Gaelic audience is through a dedicated Gaelic digital channel, instead of Gaelic programming on the standard channels. They agree that a new Gaelic channel should be set up by a partnership of the BBC and the Gaelic Media Service.

Councillor Hamish Fraser, Chairman of Highland Councilĺs Gaelic Select Committee said: "We welcome a dedicated Gaelic digital channel, provided that the channel is adequately funded as the quality of Gaelic programming must be equal to that of main stream programmes. This requires realistic and sustained financial support. Gaelic broadcasting and multi-media services support the work of Gaelic Education and the cultural sector, as it brings the language alive for people of all ages; Gaelic is being used within cutting edge technology.

I am very disappointed that SMG will not broadcast Gaelic programmes in peak viewing times. We know from statistics supplied by independent audience, they are ignoring the number of people watching Gaelic programmes during peak times is substantial.

"When SMG (Grampian) cease to broadcast Gaelic programmes they will loose a substantial amount of audience support. They are ignoring the voice of the community that they serve.

"It is also important that the issue of equipment, required to receive a digital channel, is addressed and that there is a system in place to ensure that all those who wish to continue receiving Gaelic broadcasts are not financially burdened as a result of this change. It is equally important that the government address the issue of Gaelic radio transmission and reception throughout Scotland and fulfil the expectations of the Committee of European Experts, in relation to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, that all of Scotland can receive Radio nan GÓidheal."

Dr Michael Foxley, Vice Convenor of The Highland Council said: "It is obvious that OFCOM has ignored the input they have received from the Gaelic community, their own research findings, the recommendations of the Gaelic Media Service, which reports to OFCOM and also the views of Highland Council.

"To deprive the Gaelic audience of programmes during peak viewing hours before the switchover to digital television is an affront to the Gaelic community, especially when there is no assurance that an adequately funded digital channel is going to materialise. This ia a particularly bitter message in the month that the Gaelic Bill received itsĺ Royal Assent."

17 June 05

New Strategy for Highland and Islands Enterprise In Gaelic
The Highlands and Islands Enterprise network (HIE), today (Friday June 17), launched its new strategy 'A Smart Successful Highlands and Islands'.
About the Strategy In English

         30  May 05

The Highland Council is leading the way in Scotland by publishing the country's first Gaelic Language Plan, which sets out its commitment to promoting the language and culture.

The Plan was launched today (30 May 2005) by Peter Peacock, Scottish Executive Minister for Education and Young People, at the Town Hall, Inverness.
It sets out how the Council proposes to:-

* increase the number of Gaelic speakers in the Highlands;
* support and promote Gaelic as a community language;
* celebrate the richness of the Gaelic language and its contribution to the heritage and culture of the Highlands;
* continue to develop and enhance the use of the Gaelic language and culture within The Highland Council and its partners.

Mr Peacock said: "The Gaelic Language Act was a milestone for the future of Gaelic - but it was just the start. Language plans, like The Highland Council's, will help to give people the chance to use Gaelic in their daily lives. Only by ensuring that people can both learn and use the language can we give it a sustainable future in a modern Scotland. I look forward to Highland Council developing their plan further in due course to meet the guidance B˛rd na GÓidhlig will issue in due course."

Council Vice-Convener, Councillor Michael Foxley, said: "We hope our Plan will prove a model and an inspiration for other public authorities. Gaelic has a rich language and culture and is undergoing a major renaissance in the Highlands. We want to be at the forefront of this revival, not least through our support for Gaelic Medium Education, first introduced in 1985. Our Plan has been prepared in the spirit of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act and recognises the importance we attach to promoting the language and culture in the Highlands."

Gaelic Select Committee Chairman, Councillor Hamish Fraser, added: "Working in partnership with other key organisations, we will strive to ensure Gaelic, and its associated culture, plays a significant role in securing a prosperous and dynamic future for Highland. Highland 2007 - the year that Scotland celebrates Highland culture - provides us with a splendid opportunity to showcase our Gaelic language and culture."

"We look forward to working with B˛rd na GÓidhlig in the years ahead to ensure that our language continues to increase in stature, to endeavour to halt the decline in the number of Gaelic speakers, a legacy of the last century, and to move forward with a determination to make the 21st century, the century that Gaelic is restored to its rightful place in our country."

Duncan Ferguson, Chairman of B˛rd na GÓidhlig, said: "B˛rd na GÓidhlig congratulates Highland Council on all that it has done over the years to promote and strengthen Gaelic, and also on the publication of this Gaelic Language Plan today. This reinforces HC's commitment to Gaelic and we look forward to seeing the plan implemented and Gaelic growing in their area.

"We also look forward to the development of the first National Plan for Gaelic, and Guidance on Language planning, which B˛rd na GÓidhlig will prepare in consultation with other parties. These documents, required by the Gaelic Act, will build on initiatives such as this Highland Council Plan, and provide national direction for future Gaelic language planning.

"The B˛rd is committed to working in partnership with Highland Council and other bodies, to achieve the revitalisation and new directions we all wish for Gaelic in Scotland."

28 February 05

The Highland Council has welcomed the amendments to the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill put forward by the Minister for Education and Young People, Peter Peacock, for consideration at Stage 2 but believes that a further significant amendment is still required.
The Council believes the proposal for a National Gaelic Education Strategy was probably the single most important recommendation put forward in the Education Committee's Stage One Report on the Bill and is very disappointed by its absence in the Minister's amendments at Stage 2.
Vice Convener, Councillor Michael Foxley said: "I remain convinced that getting this provision on the face of the Bill is absolutely central to ensuring the co-ordination of a cross-sectoral approach to Gaelic education provision.
"Its inclusion would ensure, when resolving issues such as the lack of teachers for example, that all relevant organisations must provide a vibrant co-ordinated and coherent service ~ from the Careers Service, to training by Universities and Colleges, to re-training, to action by local authorities, to incentives. This simply does not happen at the moment.
"So whilst we are pleased to see the steps being taken by Peter Peacock to look at various issues on an administrative basis, we feel that it is only by putting the National Education Plan on a legislative basis and under parliamentary scrutiny that real progress can be guaranteed."
Councillor Hamish Fraser, Convener of the Council's Gaelic Select Committee agreed. He said: "Without a legal requirement on future administrations to take a pro-active and positive approach to Gaelic, there is no guarantee that the whole approach to the subject won't be reversed with a different Government/Minister in place.
"Furthermore, whilst it might be argued that the Bord's National Strategy should ensure all public authorities~ own plans are cross referenced and complimentary, we do not feel that the Bord is in a position to take the necessary high level overview of these agencies~ terms of reference and strategic and operational plans/aims. The Executive is not only well placed to do this ~ but does so already in relation to these agencies~ more general functions."
The Highland Council gave its strong support to the Education Committee's proposal for a National Education Strategy for Gaelic when it was published in the Committee's Stage One Report on the Bill. Councillor Fraser also wrote to Mr Peacock on behalf of the Council's Gaelic Select Committee to recommend that the Minister accept the Committee's report in its entirety.
The Council's Director of Education, Bruce Robertson, is now chairing a Working Group established by the Minister to look at the development of resources for the curriculum in secondary schools using new technologies as well as being a member of the recently-established group looking into Gaelic teacher supply. Despite working so closely with the Executive on this, however, Mr Robertson also believes that it is not enough simply to seek an administrative solution.
He said: "It is encouraging that the Minister has agreed that these issues need to be addressed by setting up these working groups. Nevertheless, I believe that once we have reported and the Minister has agreed a way forward, these conclusions should form part of an over-arching national strategy for Gaelic education which needs to be given legislative or regulatory expression.
"It is essential that these issues are given the importance and weight that they deserve, because only then will we succeed in making a real and lasting difference."
The deadline for tabling amendments to the Gaelic Bill closed at midday on Friday 25 February. Only MSPs are entitled to put forward amendments at Stage 2.
The Education Committee will consider Stage Two amendments on Thursday 3 March. It is not expected to need the three days set aside for this Stage and it is likely to have completed consideration of all the amendments tabled by the end of the first day.
The Highland Council will seek to have the inclusion of the National Gaelic Education Strategy considered as part of the Stage Three debate on the Bill. It will be seeking the support of Highland MSPs as well as those who expressed their support for strengthening the Bill at the Parliament's Stage One debate on the Bill.

25 February 05


Research into the role of the Gaelic language and culture in the
development of the Highlands and Islands is to be undertaken in order to establish the potential for further integration of language development and socio-economic development.
Marsaili MacLeod, a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen, is conducting the study, which is being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in collaboration with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
HIE has recently invested in the creation of Ionad NÓiseanta na h-Imrich (Centre for Migration Studies), a joint venture between HIE, Aberdeen University and Sabhal M˛r Ostaig in Skye, through which the agency has commissioned a three-year PhD entitled 'The Role of Gaelic Language and Culture in Promoting Socio-economic Development'.
The study will explore contemporary links between Gaelic and factors such as identity, self-confidence, social cohesion, innovation and entrepreneurship - all recognised as key factors in the long-term economic development and sustainability of the Highlands and Islands.
The enterprise agency is today (25/2) staging a seminar on the role of the language in the long-term social and economic development of the Highlands and Islands, at which Marsaili will outline her proposed research aims and objectives.
Professor Mike Danson of the University of Paisley and Dr Douglas Chalmers of Glasgow Caledonian University, specialists in economics and economic development, will also present at the seminar to be held at the B˛rd na GÓidhlig offices in Inverness.
Alasdair MacLeod, culture and youth development manager at HIE, said: "We
see this as a potentially significant piece of research for both the
socio-economic and linguistic development of the region. There is currently a real sense of cultural vibrancy about the Highlands and Islands, which we hope to build on to ensure a sustainable and secure future for the cultural and linguistic traditions of the area."
B˛rd na GÓidhlig chief executive, Allan Campbell said: "It has been long recognised that the kinds of personal or community motivations required to revitalise economic activity or language are so similar as to be inseparable.
"HIE and other bodies have been important supporters of this philosophy, and B˛rd na GÓidhlig certainly recognises the significance of this linkage in its approach to language planning. The B˛rd will welcome all new input on integrated economic, social and linguistic development, and we are happy to be able to host this seminar today with HIE."

        "Growth in Gaelic could help boost local tourism"
Conservative Gaelic Spokesman Jamie McGrigor has said a growth in interest in the Gaelic language could have major benefits to Scotland's tourism industry. 

The Highlands and Islands MSP, who spoke last week in a debate on the Gaelic Language Bill, said survival of the language was critical and added that any increase in the number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland could lead to major boosts to local tourism.

        Said Mr McGrigor "We only have to look at the map of Scotland to understand the importance of Gaelic. Scotland should encompass its own language, which has been well used in promoting songs and poetry that are unique in their excellence and individuality.

        "It was the Conservatives in the early 1980s who poured ú16 million into Gaelic and kick-started the engine into life, creating interest and jobs in an area that had stagnated and had been ignored for far too long.

        "It is high time that a further injection of enthusiasm was directed towards Gaelic by the first Scottish Government for 300 years. The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill is a golden opportunity to develop Scotland's linguistic and cultural diversity and to advertise the richness of Scotland's cultural history.

        "Gaelic should be linked to history teaching. Archaeological and historical tourism are growth areas that could be linked to Gaelic. Gaelic could be very important indeed for Scottish tourism.

        "This LibDem/Labour Executive must pick up from where the Tories left off and ensure that the language is preserved. It is an important historical and cultural part of the fabric of Scotland".

9 October 04

Highland Councillors are among the first in Scotland to respond to the call from the Scottish Executive to establish a local Gaelic Language Plan. 

        Meeting in Portree on Thursday 7th October 2004, the Council approved the draft of a four-pronged plan of action, which will be circulated to interested groups for consultation.

        In addition to ensuring that Highland is a lead authority in relation to
Gaelic developments nationally, the Council's Gaelic Language and
Culture Plan will have four key objectives, namely to: -

        1. Increase the number of Gaelic speakers in the Highlands;
2. Support and promote Gaelic as a community language;
3. Celebrate the richness of the Gaelic language and its contribution to the heritage and culture of the Highlands, Scotland and internationally;
4. Ensure there is a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to sustaining and developing the Gaelic language and culture within the Council, across the Highlands and through partnership working with other agencies.

        Councillor Hamish Fraser, Chairman of the Council's Gaelic Select
Committee, said the Council would produce a list of priorities to work on during each of the four years of the Language Plan. Progress would be reported on a regular basis to the Council and an annual report produced. Gaelic would feature prominently in the key policies and plans of the Council.

        He said: "The Executive are to be congratulated on progressing the
Gaelic Language Bill and hopefully it will become legislation by the summer of next year. The Highland Council is widely acknowledged as being particularly supportive towards Gaelic Language and Culture and I am delighted that the Council has been so quick off the mark in drafting its first Gaelic Language Bill."

        Earlier, Councillor Fraser expressed his concern about the minimal level of additional funding provided to the Gaelic Media Service by the Scottish Executive.

        He said: "There is no increase in 2005/2006 and there has only been a minor increase in the two subsequent years and I know that this is a major disappointment to the Gaelic community. We in Highland are taking major steps in Gaelic and cultural development and it is disappointing that the Scottish Executive is n ot recognising that the Gaelic Media plays an important role in language development."

        5 August 04
Gaelic Classes
A new series of Gaelic courses "Gaelic In the Home" will be run by Comhairle nan Sgoiltean Arich in Thurso Wick, Tongue, Melvich, Tain, Bonar Bridge Alness and Invergordon. If you are interested in learning or brushing up your Gaelic or teaching then contact CNSA on 01463 225469 or 0141 226 5222

3 May 04

The Gaelic CD set 'Seinn o ho ro Seinn', produced The Highland Councils MÓiri Mh˛r Gaelic Song Fellowship in October last year, has been so successful that it has sold out within six months and a second run is now ready for distribution.  The set, a double CD of 40 of the most popular Gaelic songs with the sung and spoken versions, also includes a book of lyrics and translations. All schools in the Highland area received complimentary copies.

21 March 04
Gaelic Student Wins Wallace Broadsword Prize In Gaelic Community Radio Competition
Jaqui Yuill, winner of The Highland Council's Gaelic Community Radio Competition receives the Wallace broadsword prize from Councillor Neil Clark.  The Highland Council's Gaelic Community Radio Competition is supported by the Gaelic Media Service and Burn Stewart Distillers PLC, makers of the Wallace Liqueur.  The aim of the competition is to encourage radio groups to develop Gaelic programming within their broadcast schedules and encourage Gaelic speakers to participate in Community Radio.

9 February 04
Melvich Gaelic Choir  New Web Site


9 January 04

        Gaelic plays a central role in creating the special identify of the Highland area but for the language and culture to prosper Gaelic must be given legal status on a par with English and must be adequately funded.

        This is the view of The Highland Council, who welcome the Scottish
Executive's consultation on the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill.   In its response to the consultation, the Council states: "Gaelic - one of the world's most ancient languages - should be recognised in statute as a national and official language of Scotland. In order for communities across the country to protect, preserve and develop the place of Gaelic in their everyday life, the language must be given legal status on a par with English."

         Bord na Gaidhlig (Alba), says the Council, should be given a clear remit in promoting the language and culture and a primary responsibility should be the production of a National Plan for Gaelic, which would be reviewed four-yearly. The Bord would also offer advice, guidance and assistance to public agencies to draw up and produce relevant Gaelic plans with realistic and achievable objectives. 

         The Council believes that education is the most important vehicle through which the decline of the language can be arrested and the route through which a renaissance in the language and culture can be promoted.  It strongly believes that responsibility for Gaelic Education and Gaelic Education developments should remain as part of the core remit of the Scottish Executive, HMIE and local authorities. The role of the Bord should be advisory and outwith the terms of the 2000 Education Act.

        Broadcasting plays a vital role in Gaelic development and the Council argues that the draft Bill should provide an opportunity to clarify funding available for this while the Bord should be able to support and develop Gaelic broadcasting in terms of the quality and quantity of radio and television outputs.  Councillor Andrew Anderson, Chairman Highland Council's Education,  Culture and Sport Committee, said: "We believe that this proposed legislation could be the basis for a positive change for the fortune of Gaelic within 21st century Scotland. If our suggested amendments to the draft Bill are adopted by the Scottish Parliament, it should assist in developing and safeguarding our language and culture for our young people. We are a country of many cultures. Let's make sure that we make them flourish."

         Councillor Hamish Fraser, the Council's Gaelic spokesperson, added: "A Bill for Gaelic will be a very significant milestone for the future of the language. If enshrined in law, it will give the language the status it deserves. In Highland, we wish to continue to encourage Gaelic development especially with our young people, as they are our future, therefore the Scottish Parliament and the Executive must give their utmost support."

       The Council's response can be read on the Council web site
Click Here

11 November 03

A report was presented to The Highland Councilĺs Gaelic Select Committee, which summarised the provisions within the draft Gaelic Language Bill that was published by the Scottish Executive for public consultation during the recent National Mod.

Members have agreed that following discussions with other local authorities, such as Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (the Western Isles Council), the Committee will prepare an official response on behalf of all services of the Council.  This will then be presented to the full council on the 19th December for approval before been forwarded to the Scottish Executive.

The key provisions of the Bill include;

    Ě Recognising in legislation Gaelic as a language of Scotland
    Ě Establishing B˛rd na GÓidhlig to promote the use and understanding of Gaelic
    Ě Requiring B˛rd na GÓidhlig to prepare a National Gaelic Language Plan
    Ě Requiring public bodies in Scotland to consider the need for a Gaelic language plan in relation to the services they offer.

B˛rd Na GÓidhlig have organised the following public consultation meetings in the Highland area to raise awareness and to gather information.  All the meetings start at 7.30pm. People are urged to attend, if people can not attend please place your comments on the Highland Councils discussion forum on Gaelic related issues www.highland.gov.uk or the B˛rd na GÓidhlig website.

10 November     Thistle Hotel, Inverness
11 November     Aros, Isle of Skye
18 November     Alexandria Hotel, Fort William
27 November     Ceilidh Place, Ullapool
9 December      Tongue Hotel, Tongue

6 November 03
Up with the Gaelic!
 Suas leis a' Ghaidhlig  
Gaelic Classes At Wick
Gaelic classes in Wick Comm Ed Building, Ackergill Street, starting on Monday Nov 10th at 7:30
We would welcome learners of all abilities and also any fluent speakers willing to pop in and help us practise our skills.
Couldn't understand the songs on the T.V.Mod programmes?  Learn Gaelic. Want to understand Gaelic Place names ?  Learn Gaelic.

        3 November 03
SNH Appoints New Gaelic Officer
Scottish Natural Heritage has appointed a new Gaelic public relations officer.
Working from the SNH office in Inverness, Mairi Gillies will become the lead Gaelic spokesperson for the organisation, liaising with the Gaelic media and other relavent bodies.  She will also contribute to the promotion and implementation of the SNH Gaelic policy, which seeks to extend the organisation's use of Gaelic.
From Ness in Lewis, Mairi gained an HNC in Gaelic Television Production from Lews Castle College in Stornoway in 1996.  She has since travelled the world and worked mainly in hospitality and retail management.
Commenting on her new post she said:  "I am delighted to have joined SNH and look forward to promoting the remit and activities of the organisation through Gaelic, as well as helping to increase the use of Gaelic in SNH."

        20 October 03
Draft Gaelic Language Bill - Consultation Pape0r

        15 October 03
SONGS IN TUNE WITH YOUNG PEOPLE  - CD Launched With 40 Classic Gaelic Songs
The Highland Councilĺs Mairi Mhor Gaelic Song Fellowship launched a new Gaelic song teaching resource at the Royal National Mod in Oban. Entitled ôSeinn o ho ro Seinnö, the venture, which has been funded by the Scottish Arts Council, is designed to encourage more people, particularly young people, to sing Gaelic songs.  The MOD is in full swing this week and full results are being posted on The MOD web site.

         8 September 03

Argyll and the Islands Enterprise (AIE) is committing more than ú45,000 to help stage the 100th Royal National Mod in Oban.
The Mod - the largest festival of Gaelic culture and language in Scotland - returns to its place of origin this year and is taking place from the 10th - 18th October. The event is set to bring a range of social and economic benefits to the Oban area.
The parent body of the Royal National Mod is An Comunn Gaidhealach, which was established in Oban in 1891 - at the first ever Mod. Commenting on AIE's support for this year's event, An Comunn Gaidhealach treasurer, Duncan MacLeod said: "We are delighted that AIE has agreed to support this year's Mod. Their financial contribution, along with funding from Argyll and Bute Council and other sponsors will ensure that this, the 100th Mod, is very special indeed."
AIE chief executive, Ken Abernethy said: "We are delighted that the Mod is taking place in Oban this year. It brings many benefits to the host area in terms of a boost to the local tourist trade and promoting Argyll as an attractive cultural tourism destination.
"Our support for the Royal National Mod is part of AIE's drive to boost our heritage and culture sector, along with our continued support for Ionad Challuim Chille Ile on Islay and Gaelic in the community."

1 September 03
Skye Festival 'Excellent'
After the end of the very successful 12th Skye Festival in July, the organisers received critical acclaim from the Scottish Arts Council, and an offer of support from a local business. Almost all events were sold out and a record number of tickets sold.

       The mid-festival 'Skye Night' concert received particular praise, for the quality of the performers and the organisation of the event. Two members of the Scottish Arts Council staff travelled to Skye to assess their funding of the event and classed FŔis an Eilein as 'Excellent'.  "The production was extremely successful as a showcase for the quality and talent that exists on Skye and in attracting local audiences and visitors."

     The Festival is run by a voluntary committee who offer a considerable amount of time to arrange Island's leading festival. This was noted in the report.  "Although the Festival is organised on a voluntary basis, and an administrator\co-ordinator is appointed only for the period of the festival, it is very well managed."

       Last year the FŔis undertook a review to move away from this voluntary structure and is working with its funders to provide paid administration by 2004. Skye and Lochalsh offered considerable funding for the events themselves in 2003.

        A successful pilot project this year allowed two major events to be duplicated in north Skye through FŔis Trodairnis. Since then other communities have shown an interest in being part of the Skye Festival in 2004. A major local business has opened discussions about funding for next year.

        The Skye Festival is based in the stunning campus at Scotland's Gaelic College in south Skye. It is not surprising that FŔis an Eilein has a reputation of introducing visitors to Gaelic language and culture in a unique and friendly manner.   In particular this year the FŔis presented a tri-lingual concert with simultaneous translation from Gaelic and Irish Gaelic into English, for the concert that included young Skye performers, Michael McGoldrick, Gaelic Stories from Martin Macintyre, and the Armagh Rhymers.  The Skye Festival is believed to be the only event that offers such a service to non-Gaelic speaking audiences. 

         While Gaelic music and song is at the heart of the festival, it also
explores the many links with shared cultures in other countries and includes a few cultural surprises. The passionate Tango concert and the spectacular fire show from 'te Pooka' as part of the 'Salsa Celtica' night brought an ecstatic response from the capacity audiences.   The Skye Festival is again proof that locally run events, arising from the community, are successful and often the most sustainable way to develop cultural tourism. Indeed the Scottish Arts Council states "FŔis an Eilein is a model of the Scottish Arts Council's 'arts in the community priority' in practice."  Or as one visitor wrote afterwards: "We thoroughly enjoyed all the concerts and it was brilliantly organised as ever."
The next FŔis an Eilein / Skye Festival will take place from 13 to 23 July 2004

22 August 03
Maoin ur Airson An Storlann
Young people must have access to modern Gaelic resources to help develop their interest in the language, said Education Minister Peter Peacock. The Minister was speaking as he announced ú10,000 for the Gaelic Resource Centre in Lewis to publish a Gaelic maths dictionary for primary and a novel for secondary schools later this year.

Gaelic Arts Tuition
Festivals teaching traditional Gaelic music, song and dance are to be expanded as a result of a three-year funding package.

17 August 03

Education Minister Peter Peacock Launched The Drive To Increase Gaelic Medium Teachers.  A pioneering new programme for primary English-medium and Gaelic-medium teachers received official recognition on Friday August 15 with the formal launch of a new teacher training programme developed by the University of Aberdeen in collaboration with Highland Council.

16 June 03
Gaelic Information Officer At Scottish Parliament

12 June 03
Support For Gaelic Education

12 August 03

The Mairi Mhor Gaelic Song Fellow for The Highland Council, Fiona Mackenzie of Dingwall will shortly be teaching Gaelic Songs to teenagers a little further field than usual. She will be participating in this yearĺs Feis an Eilein, on Christmas Island, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia with financial support from The Scottish Arts Council.

Fiona has been invited by the Highland Village on Iona, Nova Scotia to teach at their Annual August Gaelic programme, ĹEilean nan Ogĺ and also to present a song lecture on Mairi Mhor nan Oran herself.

Fiona MacKenzie, said: ôWe applied to The Scottish Arts Council for a research grant as we thought it would be interesting to do some research into methods of teaching Gaelic Song in Nova Scotia and compare it to our methods here in Scotland.ö

She added: ôThey have many other Gaelic orientated events organised such as Ĺmillingsĺ or waulkings, Gaelic Fun Days, a big piping concert at which I shall be singing Pibroch Songs, puirt a beul workshops, square dances and something called a Ĺcod fish supperĺ.ö

Councillor Hamish Fraser, Chairman of The Highland Councilĺs Gaelic Select Committee said: ôWe are sure that there are many things we can learn from our counterparts in Cape Breton just as we are sure we can help to encourage the singing of Gaelic songs and the learning of the language.ö

Councillor Andrew Anderson, Chairman of Education, Culture and Sport Service, said: ôI am sure we can learn a tremendous amount about the Gaelic culture there and about what happened to our forefathers when they left the shores of Scotland in the 1800ĺs.ö

Fiona added: ôWhile the traditional music scene is very vibrant in Cape Breton, the language itself needs to be strengthened and encouraged and the best way of doing this is by working with the young people of the Community.  We hope to establish an exchange program for young Gaelic singings with a similar group in Cape Breton.

I am very grateful to the Arts Council for giving me this chance to explore our culture, on another continent.ö

The Highland Council and The Council of Nova Scotia have recently co- signed a Memorandum of Understanding, in a move designed to strengthen cultural, linguistic, heritage, arts and cultural tourism links between the two areas.

For more information on the Fellowship, Fiona can be contacted via email at: fiona.mackenzie2@highland.gov.uk or at Area Education Office, 13, Castle Street, Dingwall tel 01349 893 441.
Fiona Mackenzie's Web Site

7 July 03

The Scottish Rights of Way & Access Society and The Highland Council has been working for the past five years to ensure that the major paths and tracks in the West Highlands are sign-posted for the benefit of the walking public, both locals and visitors.

Alasdair Lawson, Scottish Rights of Way Officer said, ôthe development started at the Sound of Mull, this work has progressively covered Argyll, Lochaber, Inverness Area, Wester Ross, finally, this year, an ambitious project in the Skye and Lochalsh Area has just been completed.  This would not have been achieved without the co-operation of The Highland Council, especially the Skye and Lochalsh Area.

Left, Donald Kennedy, Footpath Officer, with The Highland Councilĺs Planning and Development Service, Skye and Lochalsh Area, and Councillor Hamish Fraser , Chairman  of the Gaelic Select Committee

Alasdair continued, ôThe next phase, will be the area north of the Glen Moriston / Glen Shiel road and up to the Garve / Kyle road, including glens Affric, Cannich and Strathfarrar and lochs Mullardoch and Monar.ö

Throughout this whole vast area, the message on the familiar green and white signs has been bi-lingual.

The Chairman of The Highland Councilĺs Gaelic Select Committee, Councillor Hamish Fraser, said ôI am delighted to see the Skye and Lochalsh Area phase is now complete, and I am sure localĺs and visitors to the area will enjoy our new signs.  Nearly all the place names are Gaelic or were originally Gaelic, so it is appropriate that we include Gaelic on the signs, this is also in keeping with the Councilĺs Gaelic Policy.ö

In all instances, the owners of the ground have been contacted in advance and their particular requirements considered.  The attitude has invariably been one of understanding for the needs of recreational visitors, with one or two obvious provisos, usually concerning parking and the control of dogs.

Donald Kennedy, Foot Path Officer, Planning and Development Service, said ô We are very pleased with the new signs, and we have enjoyed working with the Scottish Rights of Way in taking the planned development to fruition.

Funding for the work came from Scottish Natural Heritage and from The Highland Council, and the Rights of Way Society is duly grateful to both for their willing support.

Having been working in the interests of public access since 1845, the Society is delighted to see another significant piece of the national jigsaw fall into place, and it is hoped that locals and visitors alike will benefit from these newly-signed routes.

1 July 03
Highland Festival On Skye

The Highland's major arts festival, based at the stunning venue of the Gaelic College in south Skye starts next Tuesday, July 8.
FŔis an Eilein or the Skye Festival has 20 major concerts and over 60 events in 11 days.

An early and poignant event will emphasise the them of 'migration. The area's Countryside Ranger will lead a walk on Wednesday July 9 , to visit the cleared village of Boreraig in Strath. Two young Skye children, Roanaid and Fiann MacLeod, will join the group and present some Gaelic songs in the ruins of the village, from where their own great-great-grand-mother was evicted on a cold January morning in 1853.

Children and families are also invited to help create the 'migration window' during the Festival, a massive picture window overlooking the Sound of Sleat which by the end of the two weeks will be transformed into a colourful vibrant celebration of all those who have travelled the World.

During the Festival the theme of 'migration' appears in many forms. The open concert on Tuesday July 8 features Harvey Beaton from Nova Scotia who has been part of the revival of Step-dance in Scotland, after it migrated with emigrants to Cape Breton and was virtually lost back home.

In complete contrast the second concert features some 'passionate Tango' which has migrated from Spain to Latin America and now to Skye, while on the third night the highly acclaimed 'Shine' present some beautiful harmony singing and lively electric harp music.

Feis an Eilein or the Skye Festival runs from July 8 to 19 and is based at the Gaelic College of Sabhal Mor Ostaig in south Skye.
Information and tickets are available from the Feis office:-

01471 844207

27 June 03
English - See below

Tha meudachadh de 65% ann an Óireamh na h-oileanaich a tha a' gabhail pÓirt ann an Sgeama Greis Gnýomhachais a th'air a ruith le Buidheann Leasachaidh na GÓidhlig, Comunn na GÓidhlig (CNAG).

An t-seachdainn seo t˛isichidh 21 oileanaich GÓidhlig air obair pÓighte deich seachdainean, ag obrachadh c˛mhla ri 16 luchd fastaidh ann an Glaschu, Inbhir Nis, ╠le, An t-Eilean Sgitheanach agus Na h-Eileanan an Iar.  An uiridh ghabh 14 oileanach pÓirt. 
Air sgÓths an ¨idh a chaidh a ghabhail san Sgeama b'fheudar dha CNAG tuilleadh taic airgead fhaotainn bho Iomairt na Gaidhealtachd agus bho Pr˛gram Leasachadh Eaconomaiceach na h-Eileanan an Iar.

Thuirt Ceannard Chomunn na GÓidhlig, D˛mhnall MÓrtainn gun robh am aeudachadh ann an ¨idh airson na Sgeama air a thighinn bhon dÓ chuid na h-oileanaich agus na luchd-fastaidh. Thuirt e:  "Tha sinn air leth toilichte leis an adhartas agus meudachadh san Sgeama, agus gun do dh'aontaich InaG agus PLE Na h-Eileanan an Iar tuilleadh taic airgead a chuir ris.  Se fýor dh˛igh math a th'anns an Sgeama airson cothrom a thoirt do dh'oileanaich e˛las fhaighinn air obair ann an suidheachadh GÓidhlig, gus meudachadh am mothachadh agus fiosrachadh air leasachadh na GÓidhlig agus airson luchd ionnsachaidh cuir ris na sgilean cÓnan aca.  Tha e a toirt an cothrom don luchd-fastaidh cleachdadh na sgilean s˛nraichte a th'aig na h-oileanaich airson pr˛iseactan s˛nraichte a choilionadh agus
cuideachd a' toirt taic do dh'obair lÓitheil na buidhnean.

Thuirt Daibhidh Smillie bho Sgioba Coimhearsnachd agus Cultar InaG: "Tha an Sgeama seo air a ruith le CNAG buannachdail bho iomadh taobh.  'S ann mu dheidhinn leasachadh sgilean, mu dheidhinn leasachadh na GÓidhlig, agus gu seach Óraid mu dheidhinn cosnadh a tha e. Tha e cuideachd mu dheidhinn a bhi dearbhadh do dh'oileanaich cho feumail 's a tha GhÓidhlig ann an saoghal an lÓtha diugh.  'Se fýor dhŔagh naidheachd a th'ann gun robh na h-iarrtasan airson an Sgeama air meudachadh agus tha mise toilichte gum b'urrainn dhuinn cuideachadh."

Tha an h-uile oileanach a tha a' gabhail pÓirt a' faighinn ú180 gach seachdain, leth dhen seo a' tighinn bhon fastaiche.  ThŔid measadh a dhŔanamh aig deireadh na deich seachdainnean, a' gabhail a-steach beachdan na h-oileanaich agus na fastaichean, gus Sgeama na h-ath bhliadhn' a leasachadh.

Tha oileanaich air am pÓigheadh ú180 gach seachdain le 50% de na cosgaisean air an coinneachadh leis am fastaiche agus an 50% eile le CNAG/INEPLE/InaG.

Tha na buidhnean a leanas a' gabhail pÓirt ann an Sgeama Samhraidh 2003:
Comunn Eachdraidh Cheann a Loch; Sabhal M˛r Ostaig; Muillinn Shiaboist;
Iomairt na Gaidhealtachd; St¨dio Alba; Ce˛las; Comunn Eachdraidh Nis; An
Comunn Gaidhealach; Pr˛iseact nan Ealan; CNAG; Comataidh Craolaidh
GÓidhlig; Seallam; BBC; Comhairle nan Eilean Siar; Colaisde a' Chaisteal;
agus Ionad Chaluim Chille, ╠le.

Airson tuilleadh fiosrachaidh, cuireabh fios gu:  D˛mhnall MÓrtainn, Ceannard, Comunn na GÓidhlig, 71-77 SrÓid Chrombail, Ste˛rnabhagh, Eilean
Le˛dhais HS1 2DG; └ir F˛n:  01851 701802; Facs:  01851 705515; p-dealain: domhnall@cnag.org.uk

A Student Placement Scheme run by the Gaelic Development Agency, Comunn na GÓidhlig (CNAG), has reported a 65% increase in the number of students taking part this year.

Twenty-one Gaelic speaking students will begin their ten-week paid placements this week, working with a total of 16 Gaelic employers in Glasgow, Inverness, Islay, Skye and the Western Isles.  Last year 14 students took part.

The growing demand meant CNAG had to secure extra funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and from the Western Isles Community Economic Development Programme, which is funded by Europe.

CNAG Chief Executive, Donald Martin, said the increase in demand for the Scheme had come from both students and employers. He added:  "We are delighted with the progress and growing popularity of the Scheme, and that both HIE and the Western Isles CED agreed to provide additional funding.  The Scheme is an excellent way of providing students with the opportunity to gain experience in a Gaelic working environment, to increase their awareness and knowledge of Gaelic development and for Gaelic learners to increase fluency in the language.  Employers are able to use the specific skills of the students to undertake special projects as well as assisting in the day-to-day work of the organisation."

David Smillie of HIE's community and culture team added: "The Scheme run by CNAG is beneficial on a number of fronts.  It's about developing skills, it's about Gaelic development, and of course its about employment.  It's also about demonstrating to students the usefulness of Gaelic in the real world.  It's good news that demand for the Scheme has increased and I am very pleased we are able to provide support."

All students taking part receive ú180 a week, half of which comes from the employer.  At the end of the ten-week period an assessment will be carried out, taking account of the views of both students and employers, in order to develop the Scheme for next year.

Students are paid ú180 per week with 50% being met by the employer and 50% being met by CNAG/WIECED/HIE.

The following organisations are participating in the Summer 2003 Scheme:-
Comunn Eachdraidh Cheann a Loch; Sabhal M˛r Ostaig; Muillinn Shiaboist;
Iomairt na Gaidhealtachd; St¨dio Alba; Ce˛las; Comunn Eachdraidh Nis; An
Comunn Gaidhealach; Pr˛iseact nan Ealan; CNAG; Comataidh Craolaidh
GÓidhlig; Seallam; BBC; Comhairle nan Eilean Siar; Colaisde a' Chaisteal;
agus Ionad Chaluim Chille, ╠le.

For further information contact:
Donald Martin, Chief Executive, Comunn na GÓidhlig, 71-77 Cromwell Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis HS1 2DG; Tel:  01851 701802; Fax:  01851 705515; e-mail:  domhnall@cnag.org.uk 

18 June 03
The Gaelic writer Angus Peter Campbell has been appointed to the prestigious Iain Crichton Smith Writing Fellowship which is funded by The Highland Council, the Scottish Arts Council, Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise and Ross and Cromarty Enterprise.  Mr Campbell, who is originally from South Uist, but now lives in Sleat on the Isle of Skye takes over the post from the previous writing fellow, Kevin MacNeil.

12 June 03

The Highland Council has established a Gaelic Select Committee to recognise the significance of current developments to promote a Gaelic Language Bill and to reflect the importance which the Council attaches to Gaelic matters.

Elected Chairman of the Select Committee is Councillor Hamish Fraser, Skye Central, who is Depute Chairman of the Education Culture and Sport Committee, with responsibility for Gaelic.

Councillor Fraser said: ôI am delighted that the Council has reformed its Gaelic Working Group as a Select Committee of the Council. I see it playing a central role in strategic Gaelic development and will work closely with both the Executive and the Parliament in respect of the proposed Gaelic Language Bill.ö

Meanwhile, the Council has welcomed the continued commitment of the Scottish Executive to Gaelic Education.

September will see the start of Gaelic Teacher Training within the Highlands and Islands. Strathclyde University will start a course in Lews Castle and Aberdeen University will be introducing an innovative distance learning course in Highland. The Highland Council would welcome further discussions with the Executive and the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC) to ensure that potential teachers are getting the necessary financial encouragement.

Councillor Andrew Anderson, Chairman of The Highland Councilĺs Education, Culture and Sport Committee, said: ôWe recognise the significant part played by the partnership of local authorities and the Executive in improving resources for schools and would highlight as a matter of urgency the need for secondary school resources to be developed and made available using the new technologies.ö

He also added that the Council is recruiting five new Gaelic Medium teachers this summer to work in schools across Highland -  the most significant increase in recruitment for sometime.

7 May 03
Gaelic Teacher John McLean Retires
John Maclean has been teaching Gaelic at evening classes in Wick for 15 years. To mark their appreciation, students (past and present) and some members of Caithness Gaelic Choir met at the Nethercliffe Hotel, Wick on Wed 30th April for a buffet supper and ceilidh.  The students had commissioned Denis Mann the renowned glass engraver, himself an ex-student, to make a piece of engraved glass as a memento.

6 May 03
The Mairi Mhor Gaelic Song Fellowship, Highland Councilsĺ new initiative  to encourage participation in Gaelic Singing in the Higlands, is in the process of establishing a new singing group for talented and committed  teenagers between the ages of 14-18 who wish to explore and develop their Gaelic Song skills. 

Fiona Mackenzie, Gaelic Song Fellow said: ôThis will be a purely performance based group which will meet regularly, perhaps once a month, venues depending on location of its members.  The group will be very largely Ĺdrivenĺ by the members, so there will be an element of decision making and leadership skills development involved too. We feel it is very important for the young people to be closely involved in the running of the project.  The project, and Gaelic Singing in general, will then be all the more relevant for them.  My job ,as Coordinator, will be to organise the logistical side of the group and arrange visits by guest tutors, for example.ö

The first meeting of the group will take place in An Taigh Gaidhlig, Dingwall, on Sunday 11th May at 3pm  and Fiona asks that anyone interested in coming along, get in touch with her at the Education Centre, Dingwall on 01349 863441 or e mail fiona.mackenzie2@highland.gov.uk

5 February 03

Groups involved in encouraging the development and use of the Gaelic language at a local level are invited to attend a one-day conference organised by The Highland Council's Community, Learning and Leisure Service.
The aim of the conference is to allow groups to network and share their experience, discuss their support needs with representatives of the Council and other agencies and learn of the opportunities which may be available to help fund their work.   The conference will take place in the Council Chamber, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Saturday 1st March 2003 from 10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.  The programme for the event will include a number of key speakers, a series of  workshops and a general discussion on the approaches to promote the Gaelic Language and Culture in the communities across the Highlands. There will also be an opportunity to discuss the draft of the revised Council Strategy on Gaelic Language and Culture.  The conference is open to members of all groups who are working to develop Gaelic at a local level including Feisean, Adult Learner Groups, and Local Mods and others.  Councillor Allan Beaton, Chairman of The Highland Council's Gaelic Working Group, said: "The conference will be useful for all groups with an interest in the Gaelic Language and Culture and I hoped it will help to strengthen existing groups and encourage new groups to set up in areas where there is a need or interest in supporting Gaelic activities."
For those wishing to attend, further information on the conference is available from Gwash Campbell, Community Education Worker, Kinlochbervie High School, Kinlochbervie, Sutherland. Tel. 01971 521474 or e-mail

The Am Baile Project: Through its Library Service The Highland Council has been awarded ú900,000 from the New Opportunities Fund to digitise cultural heritage and language-related material and to promote participation in Gaelic. For full details visit the projects website at www.ambaile.org.uk


Free Gaelic Lessons
Scottish Gaelic Learners Material Online - links


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