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New Manager at Islay’s Columba Centre

Enrolled Scottish solicitor Neil Iain Woodrow has been named as the new Manager of Ionad Chaluim Chile Ìle  (ICCI) in Bowmore.

Following primary education at Keills and Bowmore, Neil completed his secondary education at Bowmore Secondary School and Campbeltown Grammar School. With an Honours degree in Public Law, and a Professional Legal Practice Diploma, Neil completed his legal training in Lochgilphead and Oban and became a Partner in an Oban firm of Solicitors in 1988.  In 1993 he became a partner in a firm of solicitors in Rothesay, and following the retirement of his partner he ran the firm which latterly comprised 2 other qualified solicitors and support staff. Neil sold the business in 2007 and returned to Islay.

A committed Gaelic learner Neil is very aware of his family’s proud tradition of support for the language in Islay. ‘My late mother was a fervent Gaelic activist.  After retiring as head teacher of Keills primary she continued as supply teacher in Bowmore’s GMU for many years.  A native speaker, who had obtained Higher Gaelic under the tuition of the late Donald Thomson, she was the first Chair of Co-Roinn Ìle, Diùra is Colbhasa.  The Co-Roinn held summer schools over several years to prove that there was a definite need for a learning centre in Islay.   The summer schools were very successful and the rest is history. I am very much looking forward to taking up my post at Ionad Chaluim Chile Ìle!’

Since returning to Islay Neil has been concentrating on learning Gaelic and he has also been involved in a number of community roles including membership of the board of the community newspaper, An t-Ìleach, and a member of Comunn na Gàidhlig’s Islay Gaelic Initiative

Allan Campbell, Interim Chairman of ICCI’s Board of Directors, welcomed Neil’s appointment,’We are delighted to have a Manager in post at the Centre again, and wish Neil every success in his new role. Over the past eighteen months, with the support of HIE, ICCI has reviewed and renewed its Business Plan, and we are particularly proud to have the confidence of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Argyll and Bute Council as key stakeholders and funders. 
‘The Directors are grateful to Rita Hunter who has done sterling development work on our new Business Plan over the past 9 months, and Neil’s appointment is a significant step  in the implementation of that Plan. Rita expects to complete her work for ICCI by the year end.’

The focus of ICCI’s Business Plan is to grow as a social enterprise, and:

  • Develop the Centre as a Gaelic hub for Islay and Argyll; 
  • Develop as a language and cultural centre;
  • Develop as an economic driver;
  • Develop as a community facility.

Allan Campbell added,’In fulfilling these objectives ICCI will contribute to the delivery of Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s key development targets for strengthening the use of Gaelic in the home, the workplace and the community. The Centre will also deliver cultural and economic aspirations for HIE and Argyll and Bute Council in Islay and Argyll.’

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