£1m Scottish Government funding for new Gaelic heritage centre in South Uist

Written by Jenni Davidson on 18 August 2017 in News

The Cnoc Soilleir centre will provide a base for Gaelic language and culture activities and courses

John Swinney - Image credit: Scottish Parliament TV

A new Gaelic music, culture and heritage centre planned for South Uist has been awarded £1 million funding by the Scottish Government.

The £7m Cnoc Soilleir project - which is expected to create around 40 jobs – will receive the investment from the Scottish Government’s Gaelic Capital Plan.

The project is a partnership between Gaelic community culture group Ceòlas Uibhist and Lews Castle College UHI, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands – the first of its kind between a further and higher education provider and a community organisation.


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Established in 1996, Ceòlas Uibhist has grown from a week-long music and dance summer school to become a leading Gaelic culture, heritage and arts organisation.

Cnoc Soilleir will support the growth of Ceòlas Uibhist community-led activity around Gaelic language learning, music and dance.

It will also provide a base for the Lews Castle College UHI music programmes, with additional creative industry courses enabling growth in student numbers.

Ceòlas’ chair Mary T MacInnes said: “As the lead partner in the current phase of the Cnoc Soilleir development, Cèolas warmly welcomes this substantial contribution towards the centre. 

“In South Uist, Gaelic is part of the way of life - commonly the language of the workplace, the home and social situations where the community gathers.

“It is a natural development for Cèolas to base its future on the strong cultural heritage of Uist.

“This commitment by the Scottish Government will be a considerable key to unlocking the other funding required.”

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney said: “Gaelic is an integral part of Scottish identity and this government is committed to supporting projects like Cnoc Soilleir, which will ensure a sustainable future for the Gaelic language and culture.

“I am delighted we can provide funding for this project, which will increase the number of people speaking, learning and using Gaelic as well as contributing to a vibrant community in Uist by creating around 40 jobs and increasing student numbers.”

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