Future of flagship Gaelic college secure after £3m injection

The Sabhal M�r Ostaig campus on Skye
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A GAELIC language college is being awarded £3 million to help secure its long-term future.

The Scottish Government funding will help develop the new village of Kilbeg near the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig campus on Skye, providing more education, residential and business accommodation.

An additional £1m will be available for councils to help expand Gaelic-medium education.

Alasdair Allan, the minister responsible for languages, said: “Sabhal Mòr Ostaig makes an important contribution to the area beyond its obvious tuition and promotion of Gaelic. This funding will help create new opportunities for the college and secure its future, and to extend its education, cultural and economic role within Skye and throughout Scotland.

“Ongoing improvements to deliver better facilities and infrastructure for Gaelic-medium education demonstrates the increasing demand to support young children develop bi-lingual language skills as part of their natural development.”

The investment was welcomed by the college.

Principal Boyd Robertson said: “This most welcome news caps an extraordinary year for Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, one in which the college acquired almost 40 acres of land from the Clan Donald Lands Trust, thus enabling future extension of its role as the National Centre for Gaelic and agent of linguistic, cultural and economic regeneration locally and nationally.

“We are deeply appreciative of the support given to the Kilbeg project by the First Minister, Deputy First Minister and the Cabinet secretary for education and lifelong learning.”

The funding is part of the £205m package of construction and maintenance projects to begin this year, announced last month.

Local authorities across the country who provide Gaelic-medium education (GME) will benefit from an additional £1m investment to the Gaelic Schools Capital Fund.

In the past, the fund has allowed for expansion in GME through building schools, renovation of schools, improvements in facilities and providing portable classrooms. The Gaelic Schools Capital Fund has supported projects in Argyll and Bute, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highland and North Lanarkshire.

The college celebrates its 40th anniversary next year.

Sheriff Roddy John MacLeod, chairman of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, said: “This is wonderful news for Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, and indeed for Skye, and we are most grateful to the Scottish Government for recognising the potential of the Kilbeg project and for allocating such a substantial sum to the first phase of the Kilbeg Village development. This funding will allow us to begin to implement our plans for the college and the community.”

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