A RISE in interest in Catalonia has led to a unique course being organised in Edinburgh for people who want to learn the Catalan language.

Agnès Rubirola, an experienced teacher, will come over from Catalonia to deliver 20 hours of teaching over eight sessions – on Monday and Wednesday evenings – at the capital’s Tollcross Community Centre next month.

Gerry Mulvenna, who organised the classes, told The National: “As you may have found out, it is quite hard for English speakers here to get tuition in Catalan, so this is a great opportunity for people who maybe frequently travel to Catalonia to build a great foundation in the language.

“It’s only a year since I first went to Catalonia and I’ve now been about five times and the course was my idea and a friend Pete who went last year.

“When we came back we discovered that Edinburgh had a Scotland-Catalan Centre and they had a 20th-anniversary party. They were set up to give Catalan families living in Scotland a way to transmit their culture to their children and it’s evolved into a meeting point between Catalan and Scottish culture.”

The centre is a registered charity running events around the Catalan calendar and is non-political. It played a role in the classes arranging a survey to gauge how popular it might be.

“I came to them looking for a Catalan language course but they weren’t doing it,” said Mulvenna.

“We made friends with Agnès, who’s going to teach the course, when she was here on holiday.

“When Pete and I went back to Catalonia we told her about plans for the course and she offered herself as a teacher, so it’s been bubbling along for a while.”

“The Scottish-Catalan Centre are supporting the venture, paying for the venue and the textbooks.”

“We can take up to 16 people and we have seven at the moment so we still have space.”

He added: “One of the registered students is a writer in Gaelic and English and is aiming to translate his work into Catalan, so it’s a wide mix of people.”