THOUSANDS of schoolchildren could receive their first Gaelic language lessons thanks to a Scottish Government funding grant of more than £30,000.

Feisean nan Gaidheal, the organisation that supports the development of community-based Gaelic arts tuition festivals, is to be given £33,000 by ministers.

The funding will allow the body to offer Gaelic language lessons to local authorities that have not yet provided them, potentially reaching more than 10,000 young people. The cash will also help produce a music, drama and dance show from two Gaelic primary schools, one in the Highlands and one in the Central Belt.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Gaelic is an integral part of Scottish culture and the Scottish Government recognises the cultural, economic and social value of the language to our whole country. Feisean nan Gaidheal has made an immense contribution to both traditional music and the Gaelic language throughout Scotland through their support and promotion of the language, especially their work with young people and schools.

“I’m delighted we can provide further funding for their work so they can reach even more young people across the country.”

Feisean nan Gaidheal chief executive Arthur Cormack said: “We are extremely grateful for the additional funding that will enable us to provide arts activities for pupils in Gaelic-medium education.

“Through our Feisgoil service, we have assisted a number of local authorities to deliver commitments in their Gaelic language plans in a cost-effective manner.”