Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) today announced further Gaelic investment ahead of the publication of research showing the significant economic benefits of the language and its culture. The new awards brings total current HIE investment through Gaelic to £990,000.
The summary findings of the 'Economic Impact of the Fèisean', commissioned by HIE, show that the Fèisean (Gaelic arts tuition festivals) alone contribute over £1m to the Scottish economy and sustain 49 full-time posts in the Highlands and Islands. The study also suggests a significant impact on the region's 'fragile areas', contributing earnings of over a quarter of a million pounds and 14 full-time equivalent posts. HIE announced three-year funding of £540,000 to Fèisean nan Gàidheal in September 2009.
The latest investment includes the award of a contract worth £300,000 to the Gaelic development body Comunn na Gàidhlig for the delivery of services which will significantly increase the contribution of Gaelic and Gàidhealach culture in the development of the Highlands and Islands, and particularly the region's fragile areas.
The services set out in the contract stem from the current Government Economic Strategy and the HIE Gaelic Plan, and will focus on areas such as the application of Gaelic in the growth of key sectors in the economy of the Highlands and Islands and the development of strategy for the growth of the Gaelic labour market.
"HIE is ambitious about developing Gaelic language use and about the crucial role its culture can play in strengthening our businesses and communities. The HIE Gaelic Plan focuses on promoting the business benefits of Gaelic, particularly in growing the creative industries, goods and services, and the tourism sector. We want to encourage our businesses to take advantage of the elements of our community which are unique and make us more competitive," explained John Watt, director of strengthening communities at HIE.
Calum Iain Macleod, development director at Comunn na Gàidhlig said: "In delivering this contract over the course of the coming year, Comunn na Gàidhlig will undertake a wide range of initiatives to revitalise Gaelic through business support and community development across the Highlands and Islands.
"HIE's support to Gaelic development continues to be vitally important and we are delighted to have been awarded this contract. CnaG is also delighted to note the publication of HIE's Gaelic Language Plan reinforcing their confidence and belief in the future of the language."
In addition to its funding to CnaG, HIE is providing funding of £50,000 towards Pròiseact nan Ealan (PnE) - the national Gaelic Arts Agency and continues to reinforce its strengthening communities focus on promoting growth in the social enterprise sector. A number of Gaelic projects are supported by PnE including the St Kilda Opera and the Leabhar Mòr touring exhibition as well as the recent community arts pilot project 'Mo Chuid Aodaich' which raised over £12,000 for the community care organisation Crossroads.
HIE is also providing support of £100,000 over three years to Comunn Luchd Ionnsachaidh (Clì Gàidhlig) as the organisation expands on its role in delivering Gaelic learning services and develops as a social enterprise.
Today's announcements coincide with Government Minister Michael Russell's visit to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig yesterday where he delivered the annual lecture and launched Soillse. This is a research partnership with UHI Millennium Institute and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig along with the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow and the Scottish Funding Council. The investment will be used to recruit world class staff and PhD students across the partner institution. The research will help develop the Gaelic language and policies and HIE is contributing £400,000 towards a £5.29 million package.