The Iomairt began in May 2009 with it covering the communities in the North West of Lewis – Ness to Carloway.
The Iomairt has 2 aims:
- To increase the number of Gaelic speakers
- To create opportunities to use the language
The Iomairt works in partnership with the community and with other gaelic organisations to produce and implement effective projects. The Iomairt has a steering group made up of voluntary representatives from the community who establish the priority areas for the Iomairt and who help to evaluate progress and the success of the Iomairt.
The Iomairt has 3 main priority areas:
There are parent and toddler groups, 3 cròileagans, 4 primary schools – all of them with Gaelic Medium Units an 2 of them with Junior secondary departments. The Iomairt works with all of these to provide more opportunities to use Gaelic both within and outwith these schools. This with special events, various workshops and after school clubs, even on weekends and during school holidays. The Iomairt also works with local Duke of Edinburgh groups to help and encourage young people to undertake aspects of the Award through the medium of Gaelic.
For learners, the Iomairt provides various learning opportunities in the area. This with evening classes, Ùlpan classes, various workshops and provides events with opportunities for conversational development. A main area is to emphasise the benefits of bi-lingualism thus encouraging parents to put their children through Gaelic Medium Education.
The community is at the heart of this Iomairt. We are trying to keep Gaelic alive as a community language, with strong community groups already established, we are working in partnership to provide events through the medium of Gaelic. By promoting Gaelic in the community through various ways, we hope this encourages people to learn and use the language more and in all circumstances.
As a result of research carried out by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Fòram Gàidhlig Shiaboist was established by the Iomairt to create a language plan for the community. This is to strengthen the number of Gaelic speakers in the future – you can see the plan on the website www.siabost.co.uk