About the Partnership

In Mull and Iona, we have tried to promote the language and culture in various ways – principally by running evening classes, weekend classes, and daytime classes for parents of children in the GMU in Salen. We have also held very successful weekend immersion courses, which were well attended by both locals and people from all over Scotland.

We were the first Gaelic Partnership to set up a website, and through that website, the Mull Local Mod was the first Mod ever to be broadcast live on a webcam in 1999. We have responded to events and reports where we felt it necessary to uphold the language – we have helped Council officials with Gaelic signage, etc. etc.

Our current project, Community Gaelic, is aimed at people who deal with the public in any capacity: this could be local business people, shop assistants, hotel and guest house workers, workers in TICs, etc. etc. In other words any person who deals with the public. The public will in many cases be tourists, but this need not always be the case. Our aim is first of all to make them aware that there is another language spoken in these islands, and that it has an influence on our culture and way of life. We intend to help these people to acquire some knowledge of the Gaelic language, though we do not expect them to become fluent! They should be able to engage in simple conversation, and they should come to understand the meanings of placenames and the names of natural features in the area. They will acquire a deeper understanding of Highland and Gaelic culture, enabling them to integrate fully into the community. This will conserve and enhance our cultural heritage by raising the profile of the Gaelic language in these islands; it will encourage business people and others to involve themselves in local culture.

The Future

Being involved in all these projects has made us realise that we need somewhere to be a focus for all the Gaelic activities on the islands. To this end we have started to look for premises to be used as a Gaelic Centre. We don’t yet know where this Centre will be, but we do know that wherever the Centre is, activities related to Gaelic will still happen in places all over the islands, not just in a “Gaelic Centre”. The Centre will be available for use for Gaelic related activities, and will also be a base for housing resources and equipment which will be available for use throughout the islands.

As a step towards acquiring property, we realised that we would need to be a more established organisation, so we have, after public consultation, been formed into a Company Limited by Guarantee. We are a membership organisation, with close to 100 members, who support our aims and priorities. Council of around £1000 to £1500 per year.