Research reveals value of Gaelic to businesses and communities

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The economic and social value of Gaelic as a unique asset for Scotland is the focus of a pioneering study which is published today (Tuesday).

Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has led a partnership project to research ways in which Gaelic is currently being used to deliver economic and social benefits and how its impact can be maximised.

Entitled Ar Stòras Gàidhlig (Our Gaelic Resource), the report demonstrates how the language is currently being used to add value in a wide variety of circumstances and highlights its considerable potential to bring further benefits.

HIE collaborated with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Scottish Natural Heritage, Creative Scotland, The Highland Council, Argyll and Bute Council, and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to commission the research.

Almost 70% of businesses consulted said that Gaelic is an asset to their activities. More than half of businesses (60%) and 85% of community organisations who responded to the survey stated that Gaelic features as a key element of their work.

Examining data from the respondents, the researchers were able to quantify that the combined impact on turnover which was attributable to their use of Gaelic totalled £5.6m.

From this result, they calculated that the potential economic value of Gaelic as an asset to the wider Scottish economy could be from £81.6m to £148.5m a year.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Ceannard (CEO), John Angus MacKay said: “We have known for some time through previous studies that, relative to its size, the Gaelic community punches well above its weight in its contribution in a range of sectors, and this reinforces and expands on the previous baseline. Loyalty to language and culture is a powerful motivating force. We are enormously encouraged by the growing support for Gaelic at grassroots and institutional levels, and the economic,

as well as social, cultural and linguistic, benefits that accrue from concerted action.”

Several examples of businesses currently using Gaelic as an asset are featured in the full report, including An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway. Gaelic is a strong element of the An Lanntair brand, and the centre features bilingual signage in its building, advertising and other promotional materials, as well as curating exhibitions which celebrate and promote Gaelic culture.

Other businesses which the researchers highlighted as case studies in using Gaelic as an asset include leading Scottish TV production company mneTV, based in Glasgow; Aros Visitor Centre and Arts Centre, Skye; Feisean nan Gàidheal and Blas festivals across the Highlands and Islands, and the Port Charlotte Hotel, Islay.

Pictured is the An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway where Gaelic is a strong element of its brand.