1st September 2010
The district of Staffin, in the north east of Skye, has been named as Gaelic Community of the Year for 2010. The announcement was made by Government Minister Michael Russell during a visit to Skye today (1 September 2010).
The competition was run by Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG) as part of the Gaelic development contract they are delivering on behalf of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
This is the first year the competition has been run, but despite that over eleven communities and community groups submitted bids, from across the Highlands and islands.
The first prize, of three thousand pounds (£3,000) was presented to representatives of the Staffin community in Portree, by Scottish Government Education and Lifelong Learning Secretary Michael Russell.
Mr Russell said: “The people of Staffin and the surrounding area can be very proud of this award as I understand the competition was very strong. The level of their commitment to Gaelic is fantastic and I hope it can be an inspiration and motivation to other Scots to help make sure the Gaelic language thrives.”
Submissions were assessed against a range of measures including:
- the extent to which Gaelic is used in the community on a day-to-day basis;
- the language’s profile and prominence in the area;
- the extent and frequency of Gaelic usage among young people, and;
- the opportunities for Gaelic learning at different levels.
The bids were assessed by a panel of judges including CnaG staff and representatives from HIE and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
The winning bid was submitted by the Staffin Community Trust and drew the judges’ attention to the wide range of Gaelic and Gaelic-related activity taking place in the area, from competitions to youth and community events, and Gaelic classes. At the same time, they acknowledged the continuing work required to further strengthen Gaelic’s place within the community.
Staffin Community Trust Chairman, Donald Macdonald said: “On behalf of the Trust and community of Staffin, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of many individuals who have played their part over the years. We are proud that our collective community effort has been recognised in this way, and that the Gaelic language is at the centre of it. Alongside local language initiative, Lasair, and Comunn na Gàidhlig, we will focus on expanding opportunities for learners and fluent speakers in north-east Skye. The award inspires us to keep going, and demonstrates that there is value in the hard work being undertaken for the Gaelic language by communities throughout Scotland.”
Donald MacNeill, CnaG chief executive said: “The panel was unanimous that the Staffin Community Trust deserved the first prize, and it was encouraging to see the strength and role of Gaelic within the community highlighted in their bid.
“At the same time I must say that it was then very difficult to choose between the other submissions. They all deserve recognition and it was hard to select the second and third award winners.
“We hope to run the competition again next year, and the other groups and communities should be encouraged to try again on that occasion.”
Solas in North Uist was awarded the second prize of £1,500 and ‘SINNE’ was awarded the third prize of £500 for the work they are doing to develop Gaelic in Badenoch and Strathspey.
Director of Strengthening Communities at HIE, John Watt, said: “It is very clear to us that strong and confident communities are at the heart of this region’s success, and that Gaelic plays an important part in developing that confidence. We were delighted to support this competition, and I would like to praise and acknowledge all those who entered.”