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An Taigh Cèilidh has announced their official opening day after months of fundraising, their summer pop-up events space and three months renovating the former Stornoway Memorials shop on the corner of Church Street and Kenneth Street.

Stornoway’s Gaelic community centre will open at midday on Saturday 17 December.

The opening day will be marked by carollers singing Gaelic Christmas Carols at An Taigh Cèildih and around the town.

There will be a number of other events taking place, including Santa delivering presents to children (in Gaelic, of course!).

Once the centre is open, there will be a timetable of daily events that will include conversation circles, singing workshops, reminiscence events, parent and child clubs, reading clubs, live music performances, poetry recitals, and art and crafts.

The people behind the project, Teàrlach Wilson and Maggie Smith, want everyone to feel that An Taigh Cèilidh belongs to them, and that the community takes a lead role in organising and running events.

So, if you have an idea for a club or event – whether it’s yoga, baking or dancing – or you want to get involved in one of the events mentioned above, get in touch with An Taigh Cèilidh!

The centre will have a book and gift shop, and it will serve refreshments. Most items will be sourced from Lewis and Harris, including a selection of local books not available elsewhere. The centre will also offer incentives to use Gaelic, such as 10% off your drinks if you order in Gaelic.

Meanwhile, business operations will be conducted entirely in Gaelic, such as staff meetings and training. This makes An Taigh Cèilidh a truly unique place in Scotland.

The centre has received widespread support, including a £5,000 personal donation from the author of the Lewis Trilogy, Peter May, who said along with his donation: “I look forward to hearing news of progress on the project and wish you every success in bringing it to fruition”.

In a letter of support, local MSP, Alasdair Allan, said, “As a minority language, it is vital that there are spaces where the use of Gaelic is not just accepted but is actively promoted and its use expected and encouraged”.

An Taigh Cèilidh is a not-for-profit social enterprise. Income surplus will go into community and cultural projects.