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Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG) has appointed a new chairman. He is Iain Macaulay, from Back, Lewis, but originally from North Uist.  Iain, retired earlier this year from his post as Director of Social and Community Services at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and takes over from Coinneach `Mòr’ Maciver, who has been CnaG Chairman since 2012.

Iain was brought up in North Uist and educated at Dunskellar and Paible Schools, North Uist, and then at Inverness Royal Academy before graduating in Social Work from Robert Gordon’s in Aberdeen in 1981.   Iain is a fluent Gaelic-speaker and is married to Anne and has a family of two, Marion, who is currently a teacher in Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu and Andrew, who has recently taken up a post as a social worker team-leader, with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

In standing down as chairman of CnaG, Coinneach “Mòr” MacIòmhair said, “I have been a member of the CnaG, board of directors for 9 years, the past 4 as Chairman.  I have enjoyed my time there immensely.  CnaG’s role, of creating and providing services to young people in communities across Scotland is both interesting and important, and over the years, we get very positive feedback from both young people and parents as to how CnaG’s work has helped them learn Gaelic, improve fluency and most important of all, has given them the confidence to use the language with their peers.

A time when there are huge pressures on public funding creates uncertainty from year to year, but I leave CnaG in a strong position, with an excellent Board of Directors and a team of loyal, diligent staff.  This fills me with confidence for the future and I extend my best wishes for continuing success to CnaG and to the new chair, Iain Macaulay.

Iain Macaulay said, “I am very much looking forward to working with CnaG and all the key stakeholders in supporting Gaelic and make a positive contribution to the current work being undertaken in revitalising the language and increasing both the numbers using the language and also the levels of usage on a day to day basis.  

 

I recognise there will be many challenges, however, a lot of good work across the Gaelic community is being done and the forthcoming National Plan for Gaelic provides a great platform and opportunity in promoting the Gaelic language in our communities.”  

Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG) has appointed a new chairman. He is Iain Macaulay, from Back, Lewis, but originally from North Uist.  Iain, retired earlier this year from his post as Director of Social and Community Services at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and takes over from Coinneach `Mòr’ Maciver, who has been CnaG Chairman since 2012.

Iain was brought up in North Uist and educated at Dunskellar and Paible Schools, North Uist, and then at Inverness Royal Academy before graduating in Social Work from Robert Gordon’s in Aberdeen in 1981.   Iain is a fluent Gaelic-speaker and is married to Anne and has a family of two, Marion, who is currently a teacher in Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu and Andrew, who has recently taken up a post as a social worker team-leader, with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

In standing down as chairman of CnaG, Coinneach “Mòr” MacIòmhair said, “I have been a member of the CnaG, board of directors for 9 years, the past 4 as Chairman.  I have enjoyed my time there immensely.  CnaG’s role, of creating and providing services to young people in communities across Scotland is both interesting and important, and over the years, we get very positive feedback from both young people and parents as to how CnaG’s work has helped them learn Gaelic, improve fluency and most important of all, has given them the confidence to use the language with their peers.

A time when there are huge pressures on public funding creates uncertainty from year to year, but I leave CnaG in a strong position, with an excellent Board of Directors and a team of loyal, diligent staff.  This fills me with confidence for the future and I extend my best wishes for continuing success to CnaG and to the new chair, Iain Macaulay.

Iain Macaulay said, “I am very much looking forward to working with CnaG and all the key stakeholders in supporting Gaelic and make a positive contribution to the current work being undertaken in revitalising the language and increasing both the numbers using the language and also the levels of usage on a day to day basis.  

I recognise there will be many challenges, however, a lot of good work across the Gaelic community is being done and the forthcoming National Plan for Gaelic provides a great platform and opportunity in promoting the Gaelic language in our communities.”  

Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG) workers have had an extremely busy few weeks organising two camps for young Gaels between the ages of 8 and 12. The first camp was held in Scaladale, Harris, where 23 youngsters attended and the second camp was held at Dun Floddigary, Skye, where 26 youngsters attended. The youngsters came from across Scotland, including the Western Isles, Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Islay. At both camps, the youngsters enjoyed an exciting, stimulating, fun-packed week-long program of activities as diverse as cutting peat, coasteering, visiting museums and other places of interest, various arts and crafts and many other sports and activities. What makes these camps really worthwhile and enjoyable is that the youngsters are together, having fun, enjoying a wide range of activities and making new friends, some of whom will be friends for the rest of their lives. They are also doing all this in Gaelic, hugely improving their fluency in the language and increasing their confidence in using it. The camps are run by CnaG workers.

Donald MacNeill, Chief Executive of CnaG said, "We have been running these camps now for many years, and although our workers may change from year to year, and the young people themselves move on, one thing remain a constant – our strong focus on having a week-long fun-packed program of activities in place.

It is always pleasing to see the strong demand for the camps from both the parents and the youngsters themselves. Many of the youngsters return to the camps for 2-3 years and this proves to us that they get great pleasure and enjoyment from the camps. It is important to have such events to enable the young people to use their Gaelic out with the classroom in an informal, social environment amongst friends. We are grateful to Bòrd na Gàidhlig for their support, enabling us to run the camps."

Comunn na Gàidhlig works closely with young people in many communities across Scotland with Youth/Comunity Officers based in the Western Isles, Skye, Inverness, Lochaber, Mull, Islay, Glasgow and Edinburgh. As well as helping to organise and deliver on national projects such as the Sradagan camps, skiing trips, Cuach na Cloinne and John Muir Awards programme the officers work closely with schools organising and delivering a wide-ranging program of events and activities, providing opportunities for the young people to use their Gaelic outwith the classroom, improving their fluency and increasing their confidence. CnaG currently works under contracts with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Argyll and Bute Council, Glasgow City Council and Edinburgh City Council.

A 40-strong group of youngsters from across Scotland will be taking to the slopes this weekend as part of a Gaelic medium ski trip being held by Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG).  CnaG’s ski trip will see young people from Glasgow, Inverness, Skye, Barra, Glasgow, Tain, Lochaber and Lewis gathering at Badaguish near Aviemore for three days of skiing and other activities. 

The 2016 ski trip builds on previous events and enables participants to use Gaelic in a fun and supportive environment.  Starting in 2012, CnaG has expanded its skiing operation and views opportunities such as these as being critical in maintaining and developing fluency in the language.  CnaG has recently invested in its own ski equipment and a minibus which are available for use by other organisations and groups.  This represents a significant investment by CnaG in the future of Gaelic and its focus on providing opportunities for young people. The new minibus will be used for the first time at the ski trip.

The ski trip also builds on a recent successful initiative delivered by CnaG in partnership with Bòrd na Gàidhlig which supported bilingual signage at Scottish ski centres. 

Spòrs Gàidhlig, CnaG’s new dedicated youth organisation, was launched at the 2015 Royal National Mod in Oban and will form the basis for an enhanced programme of opportunities for young people.  The 2016 programme from Spòrs Gàidhlig has two new events which offer exciting opportunities for personal challenge through the medium of Gaelic. 

A Lochaber Youth Camp will see young people gather for a traditional tented camp with plenty of opportunity for outdoor and indoor activities as well as time to relax with new friends. 

Also this year, for the first time, CnaG is organising a cycle journey through the Western Isles which allows young people to travel from Barra to the Butt under their own steam but as part of a group with a leader.  The trip will have a support vehicle. 

There will also be two Sradagan camps for young people between 9 and 12, in Harris and Skye in July.

These events and more can be booked online through the Spòrs Gàidhlig website: www.spors.scot

The skiing trip and the other camps and activities are funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

ENDS

PLANS ANNOUNCED FOR ENHANCED OUTDOOR ACTIVITY PROVISION IN GAELIC
 
Ambitious plans to significantly boost the delivery of adventurous activities for the Gaelic-speaking market have been announced today (Wednesday 14th October) by Gaelic development company, Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG).
 
‘Spòrs Gàidhlig’, as the new organisation will be called, will create opportunities for young people to use Gaelic in a fun and supportive setting through a range of activities, events and programmes. The new organisation represents a significant opportunity to schools, allowing them to access a wider and more comprehensive range of Gaelic medium programmes.
 
If successful, the proposals would see the creation of a team of trained staff able to deliver a range of activities to young people entirely through the medium of Gaelic. As part of the same programme, CnaG have also announced a ‘crowdfunding’ appeal to help them purchase a minibus to support their growing programme of youth activities.
 
According to CnaG, despite efforts in the past to address the issue, there are very, very few qualified outdoor instructors able to deliver activities directly in the Gaelic language. This means that when young people are participating in adventurous activities, they are almost always delivered in English. The danger is that young people can then associate ‘cool’ and exciting activities with English – a real detriment to their Gaelic learning and confidence.
 
The new proposals have been carefully developed over the last year. A feasibility study (See “notes to editors”) carried out by independent consultants came to the strong conclusion that such a provision was viable and was needed to support overall developments in Gaelic medium education. An eventual aim to have a Gaelic language “outdoor centre” was also seen as viable, but early emphasis had to be focussed on staff training and development.
 
Among the study’s other conclusions were:
·         The training of Gaelic-speaking instructors is a key element in the vision of providing outdoor learning opportunities in Gaelic;
·         A Gaelic language and outdoor learning centre could become an effective means of contributing to the outcomes as set out in the National Plan for Gaelic;
·         Community involvement and a sense of ownership by the wider Gaelic community will be very important in the success of a CnaG Gaelic language and outdoor learning centre.
 
Comunn na Gàidhlig themselves already deliver a wide range of activities for young Gaelic speakers. These include very popular summer ‘Sradagan’ camps for 8-12 year olds, and recently introduced initiatives such as ski-camps and the delivery of the John Muir Award in a number of areas. They say the growth in demand (see “notes to editors”) for these activities, and the growth in the number of pupils following GME, led them to the conclusion that a more focussed and specialised provision was needed.
 
CnaG chief executive Donald MacNeill said: “We are very grateful for the support of our funders, particularly Bòrd na Gàidhlig, in allowing us to do what we currently do. Our aspiration is very much that this new venture – the delivery of an even greater range of activities and outdoor learning under the “Spòrs Gàidhlig” banner – would be commercial and self-sustaining after the initial training and development phase.”
 
The costs of the training and early development phases of these proposals is estimated to be in the region of £430,000. While CnaG does have some of its own resources to invest in the plan, it will depend on external funding to see it progress. Project Manager Donald Morris said: “Although the project is still at an early stage, we have already approached prospective funders including LEADER, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Skills Development Scotland, and Sport Scotland. Along with our own investment, we are optimistic that we can secure sufficient support to allow us to proceed.
 
“If that happens, then the first step would be to recruit up to 6 Gaelic speakers for an initial 10 week ‘taster’ course, from this we’d hope to see 4 of these people continue into a year-long training programme, focussed on giving them the ‘outdoor education’ qualifications they would need, but also adding in a strong element on Gaelic terminology as well as exploring its place and significance in the outdoor environment.”
 
While the training programme was underway marketing efforts would be strengthened, and the plan would then be to recruit two of the successful trainees into the new company. Depending on demand, freelance work would be offered to the other two.
 
It is currently planned that the ‘taster’ course, and first year of the training programme will be undertaken in association with the Lagganlia Outdoor Centre, near Kincraig.
 
Donald MacNeill again: “We are wholly convinced of the need for such an enhanced provision, and just as convinced that this can be an innovative and successful venture. Our ultimate objective would still be to see a fully-fledged Gaelic language “outdoor centre” providing opportunities for young Gaels to get right into a range of activities and challenges, all through the medium of Gaelic, and to see an enthusiastic team of instructors as role models, not to mention future employment opportunities.”
 
In a parallel development CnaG have also launched a ‘crowdfunding’ appeal with a target of £10,000 to help them buy a minibus. This would be used to support existing activities, as well as being available for ‘Spòrs Gàidhlig’ activities in due course.
 
Project Manager Donald Morris said: “Because CnaG offers its activities to groups of youngsters coming from across Scotland, we often have to face transport challenges. Dealing with these takes a great deal of time and effort, which would be much better spent focussing on improving our activity programme. We believe a minibus would help us deliver our current programme more efficiently and cost-effectively.”
 
Ends.
 
Notes to Editors:
1. The feasibility study was carried out for CnaG by ‘Big Pond Scotland’ with the final report being delivered in May 2014. The study cost £25,000. This was funded with support from the National Lottery’s ‘Investing in Ideas’ and ‘Awards for All’ schemes, Scottish Natural Heritage and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
 
2. CnaG’s programme of youth activities has expended significantly in recent years:
a)  There used to be 1 summer ‘Sradagan’ camps for 8-12 year olds, there are now two.
b)  The first ski-trip was offered in 2013 with 16 participants; last year there were two trips with a total of 36 participants; and in 2015 there was one camp with 44 participants.
c)  The John Muir Award began in 2012 with 20 participants; by 2015 this had grown to 60 participants, 50 of whom attended a residential event in Tomintoul
d)   The ‘city trips’ – a new initiative in 2012 with 10 participants has expanded to 30.
 
There is additional demand for all of these activities. The restricting factor is CnaG’s own capacity to accommodate greater numbers while maintaining appropriate leader:participant ratios.

Inverness

Comunn na Gàidhlig

5 Mitchell's Lane

Inverness

IV2 3HQ

Scotland

01463 234138

oifis@cnag.org

 

 

Stornoway

Comunn na Gàidhlig

An Tosgan

54a Rathad Shìphort

Stornoway

Isle of Lewis

HS1 2SD

Scotland

01851 701802

oifis@cnag.org

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