Children in Gaelic speaking communities will be helped to get the best start in life after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced £100,000 funding for 41 early years’ groups and organisations.
The money will support the running costs of the groups and provide employment opportunities for Gaelic speaking leaders so that children can develop their skills in the language.
The First Minister made the announcement in Skye as she delivered the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig lecture for the first time. She said:
“We want all of Scotland’s children to have the best start in life. That includes providing opportunities for children to learn and improve Gaelic in their early years. Our support for Gaelic medium education is encouraging and enabling more children to learn the language and has helped to slow the decline in our population of Gaelic speakers. I am determined to do all I can to support the future of the language in Scotland. Today’s announcement ensures that children will be able to take up Gaelic at the earliest possible age.”
In her speech, the First Minister will also highlight the role Gaelic has to play in the economic and cultural future of islands like Skye and praise the contribution of Sabhal Mor Ostaig.
“I want to commend the key role Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is playing. The college is establishing Scotland’s first Gaelic library and as a further education provider, saw 52 Gaelic students graduate bringing the total to 932 students since the college was established.
“Gaelic is a key part of our Education (Scotland) Bill which we are now taking forward and there is a strong focus on the promotion and support of Gaelic medium education.
“The Scottish Government is now preparing amendments to the Bill which will strengthen the Gaelic provisions and offer reassurance to those that want to see the growth and progress of Gaelic in Scotland.
“We are seeking to create the opportunity for parents to request that their Local Authorities consider whether Gaelic education is viable in their area.
“Support for Gaelic is meaningless unless it is accompanied by opportunities for Gaelic speakers. As people in Ireland sometimes say –“No jobs, no people. No people, no Gaeltacht. No Gaeltacht, no language.”
Bruce Robertson, Interim Head of Education and Learning at Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said:
“Bòrd na Gàidhlig is delighted that our partnership with Comann nam Pàrant has been recognised in this award. Early Years education and childcare opportunities are one of the cornerstones of our aim to increase the numbers of Gaelic speakers.”