CASE STUDY: Gaelic Communities Fund
Gaelic Communities Fund Awarded: £18,500
Stòras Uibhist owns and manages the community owned South Uist Estate. The 94,000 acre estate comprises the islands of Eriskay, South Uist and parts of Benbecula.
Stòras Uibhist has always supported Gaelic development within the estate. However, as none of the current development employees are speakers, there was an opportunity to take the first steps into language and heritage development.
The core project, Flòraidh, was to celebrate the life of Flora MacDonald to mark the 300-year anniversary of her birth on South Uist in 2022. The celebration on a well-known historical figure included the opportunity to share local stories, create information boards within the estate, and trial a culturally-centred project.
The original plan had been to hire a Gaelic Development officer, but the Islands-wide recruitment challenges made this impossible. The project was then adapted to be run by a part time co-ordinator and utilise the skills and experience of many freelance individuals in the area. By having the right person in place, the project was able to adapt their original plan to have one person on their own to being able to share out the workload with one person co-ordinating the wide variety of events.
The Flòraidh project proved that there is the support within the local community for Stòras Uibhist to promote and sustain cultural projects by employing Gaelic speaking staff. The group initially felt the shift from a full-time to part-time role to be a failure. However, the fact that the Gaelic Officer who was employed on a freelance basis had an exceptionally strong understanding of the local network allowed for the platforming of more individuals from within the community, including the cultural groups, historians, musicians, and Hebridean dancers. By approaching the project flexibly and adapting to challenges creatively, Stòras Uibhist was able to produce high quality events put on by experts within the community, and for the community.