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Community Land Scotland

CASE STUDY: Gaelic Communities Fund
Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh | Carloway Community Estate

Project: Sgoil Shamhraidh
Gaelic Communities Fund Awarded: £4,400


Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh (UOC) was established in 2012 to buy out the Carloway Estate on behalf of the community. They currently employ 3 people and are working on a wide range of projects on behalf of the local community.

UOC is the anchor organisations for the Dalmore to Garynahine area, which has the maintenance and development of Gaelic as one of the key aims. There were a lot of projects and events during 2021/2022 within easy travel so UOC focused on an intensive week Gaelic classes and conversational opportunities, in collaboration with Lews Castle College, University of the Highlands and Islands.


The project, Sgoil Shamhraidh, focused on significantly increasing the language skills of a few members of the community. There were over 20 people initially interested in the course but due to cost, timing, and availability, 9 adult attendees signed up for the classes which were led by an experienced, local Gaelic professional. The project, which was complimentary to the other projects and events in the area, and was organised and marketed through UOC.

Originally the project was to be in the summer and would follow the SpeakGaelic resources. Due to building delays at the venue however, the timing was changed to October. The second challenge was the intensive nature of the SpeakGaelic resources. They were followed for the first three days but then the last two days were adapted to the attendees. By working with an experienced Gaelic teacher, the final two days class sessions used materials created by the teacher that suited the learning styles of the group more appropriately. This change was possible in a very short time and ensured attendees achieved their personal objectives more easily.   


The Sgoil Shamhraidh project blended existing resources and local skills to provide a much needed, intensive learning opportunity. By working with a locally-based experienced teacher, the course was adaptable to the requirements of the attendees. This is especially worth consideration when people of mixed ability are learning together. Additionally, the project focused on a mixture of formal classes and community-based cultural activities, which allowed attendees to practice their Gaelic with a variety of people and situations and underlined the importance of Gaelic in the community.