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Flag raising ceremony marks 40th anniversary as Council visits Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

In recognition of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s 40th Anniversary,  Members of The Highland Council’s Gaelic Implementation Group visited the college on the Isle of Skye today (Thursday 23 May) to learn more about the work been done to widen access to the Gaelic language and the future development plans of the college.

The morning started with a visit to see the proposed Kilbeg Village Development site before going on a tour of the College facilities which included a visit to the Fàs Centre which is dedicated to the creative and cultural industries.

Then the Chairman of the Gaelic Implementation Group, Councillor Hamish Fraser presented Professor Boyd Roberston the Principal of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig with a commemorative wall plate, and a special anniversary flag which will be flown during this year of celebration.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Council and the college was signed in 2011 and a joint working group meets regularly to monitor progress on projects and report on partnership activity across the themes of the Council’s Gaelic Language Plan. 

Councillor Hamish Fraser said:  “It was very fitting that our meeting took place in Sabhal Mòr Ostaig today as our agenda covered a number of items that dealt with the promotion of the Gaelic language and culture, including the work been done leading up to the Royal National Mod coming to the Capital of the Highlands next year. 

“When the College was founded in 1973 it had a ground-breaking vision and over the years it has been at the forefront of delivering the highest quality of learning opportunities.  Their 40th anniversary gives us the ideal change to look back on all that has been achieved but importantly, it also makes us look to the future.  The development of Kilbeg as a new Highland Village for the 21st century offers the opportunity to create a sustainable community with a first class university campus at its heart. We look forward to working in partnership with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig for many more years to come.”

Since becoming an active partner in the University of the Highlands and Islands, the College has offered Gaelic-related degree programmes and postgraduate qualifications. The College campus has expanded significantly to meet the needs of growing numbers of students and projects. The Àrainn Ostaig campus was extended with accommodation blocks, office space and a full-sized broadcast-standard studio. A few years later, the highly-acclaimed and award-winning Àrainn Chaluim Chille campus was completed, providing more classrooms, accommodation, a lecture/performance hall, cafeteria and an extensive library.

More recently, the new Centre for Creative and Cultural Industries, the Fàs Centre, was officially opened by the First Minister for Scotland. The new facility further enhances Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s role as the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture by allowing further economic development locally and expanding its existing work in teaching, learning, culture and research.

Professor Boyd Roberston said: “We are delighted that the Gaelic Implementation Group were able to come to Sabhal Mòr in the year when we are marking the 40th anniversary of the College.  The visit allowed Councillors to become acquainted with  the College estate and facilities and with our plans for the Kilbeg development.   We already have a productive Memorandum of Understanding with the Council and this meeting provided another means of consolidating and strengthening the partnership.”

Highland Council Leader, Councillor Drew Hendry added: “I warmly congratulate Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on its 40th Anniversary. The Council and the Collage have enjoyed a tremendously positive relationship over this period. We are delighted to continue our relationship through our Memorandum of Understanding and through our support for the Kilbeg Village Project. This amply demonstrates the links between Gaelic in education, in communities and in the economic development of the Highlands.”

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