Argyll and Bute Council’s Gaelic language centre Furan – which means ‘a very warm welcome’- is to be officially opened today (Friday 17 January). Argyll and Bute councillors and community members active in the usage and promotion of the Gaelic language will join with leading figures and practitioners from Gaelic organisations. Mike Russell MSP cabinet secretary for education and lifelong learning will perform the formal opening.
The event will be accompanied by the lilt of Gaelic music and song provided by pupils of Rockfield Primary School and local musicians.
Argyll and Bute Council’s policy lead for Community and Culture, Councillor Robin Currie, said, “The Gaelic language has played a huge part in the formation of Argyll and Bute’s history and culture, and the preservation of the language and the encouragement of its usage is of vital importance.
“The establishment of the Furan centre will encourage existing Gaelic speakers to meet up to maintain their language skills, provide workshops for new learners and hopefully spark interest in children and their parents. As a native Gaelic speaker I am pleased to see the centre established, and applaud the work achieved so far.”
The council has invested £195,000 of Scottish Government’s Capital Grant for Gaelic education projects in the centre, with a further £85,000 invested in the creation of a multi-media studio and recording facility in Oban High School.
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell said, “I am delighted to be here to celebrate the opening of Furan and support all of those who have worked hard to make it a success.
“We need centres like this, and teachers with a passion for the language, to give learners the opportunities to use Gaelic as much as possible, at all levels and all ages and interact with native speakers. My own experience of learning Gaelic has opened up many positive opportunities for me and I wish all of those who will use Furan all the best and am sure that they will benefit greatly from this new centre.”
Bòrd Na Gàidhlig Cathraiche (Chair), Iain Campbell said, “I welcome this important step forward for Gaelic in Argyll and Bute. The Gaelic language has always been a central element of the linguistic and cultural heritage of the area and the Furan centre will provide an important focus for both learners and fluent speakers across the community. Revitalising the state of Gàidhlig is dependent on people learning and using the language and I hope that the Furan centre will provide the vital spark that will encourage an increased confidence amongst all people across Argyll and Bute to use Gaelic on an everyday basis.”
Since Furan first opened its doors in September 2013 the fluent Gaelic speaker co-ordinating the project, Duncan MacNeil, has established regular learning workshops, sessions bringing together older people who speak Gaelic, a presence on the local radio and Gaelic Bookbug sessions for children throughout Argyll and Bute.
Argyll and Bute Council’s Gaelic Language Plan recognises the importance of Gaelic and promotes the learning, usage and study of the language and was passed by Board na Gaidhlig in 2008.
The council’s Gaelic policy, in both English and Gaelic, can be found at