Associate Feature: Gaelic in Rural and Island Economy

Government in Scotland has an ambition to increase the number of Gaelic speakers, creating greater sustainability for the language and the communities who use it. It also, through NSET, seeks to empower rural communities across Scotland. And this year sees the key trends affecting Gaelic speakers and learners in island and rural areas increase in impact and potential.

On the positive side support for Gaelic has already delivered a range of outcomes and infrastructure - demand for Gaelic learning continues to grow at an unprecendented rate, with some 1.5million people engaging with learning the language through routes such as SpeakGaelic and Duolingo; local authorities are experiencing increasing demand for Gaelic-medium education and the confidence of young people in using our language is more and more evident.

The challenges have also increased. Key amongst these are sustaining island communities with higher proportions of Gaelic speakers. These are faced with shortages of housing, ongoing disruptions to ferry services, jobs which can’t be filled, often linked to lack of housing and transport issues, and the need for greater digital connectivity.

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