Holyrood congrats for Uist school

Ronnie MacPhee of Sgoil an Iochdair carrying the Commonwealth Games baton
Ronnie MacPhee of Sgoil an Iochdair carrying the Commonwealth Games baton. Ronnie led Sgoil an Iochdair’s youth club for 17 years.
Photo: Sgoil an Iochdair.
Uist’s Sgoil an Iochdar has been recognised in Parliament after a successful year that saw the school awarded Gaelic School status for the first time.

John Finnie has lodged a motion of congratulations at Holyrood, listing just a few of the highlights from the school year.

Volunteer Ronnie MacPhee is singled out for particular thanks, as he retires after leading the school’s youth club for 17 years.

John said:

“It’s fantastic to see a school so connected to the local community. The imagination and dedication of teachers, and the close involvement and support of parents, is what makes Sgoil an Iochdar able to offer such a varied and fun programme of events and clubs.

“The school’s success in Gaelic is particularly impressive, given it only became a Gaelic School this year. Their joint project with Sgoil Dhalabroig saw children – including English-medium pupils – write and perform their own Gaelic plays and took the two schools to joint runner-up in the Scottish Education Awards.

“And Sgoil an Iochdar not only hosted the Uist Provincial Mod, but won more points than any other primary school, including the most points in Gaelic.

“I’m especially grateful for the school community’s welcome to families fleeing the war in Syria. The Parent Council’s offer to help refugee families settle into Uist life exemplifies the warm, active and open-minded community spirit that is key to Sgoil an Iochdar’s success.”

The motion has already been signed by 7 other MSPs, and reads:

S5M-00793 John Finnie: A Great Year at Sgoil an Iochdair, South Uist

That the Parliament congratulates the pupils, staff and community of Sgoil an Iochdair, which is on South Uist, on the primary school’s many achievements over the last year, its first as a designated Gaelic school, which included being named runner-up alongside Sgoil Dhalabroig in the Gaelic award at the Scottish Education Awards for the joint drama initiative, in which pupils from both schools wrote and performed original plays in Gaelic; notes that the school also hosted both the Feis Tir A’Mhuran and the Uist provincial mod, at which it won the most points of any primary; considers the involvement of the community to be a key factor in its success, with parent volunteers making it possible to establish many clubs, such as football, music and drama; recognises in particular the contribution of Ronnie MacPhee, who has retired after 17 years of leading the school’s youth club, and thanks the members of the Parent Council for their warm welcome and generous offer of help to refugee families who have fled Syria and have arrived in the Outer Hebrides.

John welcomes Council support for Moray refugee project

Moray Supports Refugees logoJohn Finnie has expressed his gratitude for Moray Council’s backing of the Moray Supports Refugees group, and tabled a Scottish Parliament motion to allow other MSPs the chance to do the same.

Moray Supports Refugees both collects donations of clothing and other vital supplies for delivery to refugee camps in France and Greece, and works to support refugees who have settled in Moray.

Moray Council has given the group a rent-free use of three units on the Chanonry industrial estate in Elgin, and waived the business rates on the property.

John said:

“Refugees have given up everything to escape nightmare situations like the war in Syria, and I am so grateful for the work the volunteers of Moray Supports Refugees do to help refugees put their lives back together.

“The support of Moray Council in the form of premises and the business rates waiver allows Moray Supports Refugees to do even more to help refugees, both on the Continent and here in Moray.

“It’s also an important gesture, showing that Moray welcomes refugees, rejects xenophobia, and is determined to be a safe and supportive home for those fleeing war and persecution.

“Both Moray Supports Refugees and Moray Council deserve our sincerest gratitude for working to make that home a reality for people who have none.”

John’s Scottish Parliament motion reads:

otion S5M-00381: John Finnie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 08/06/2016
Moray Supports Refugees

That the Parliament welcomes the decision by Moray Council to offer a rent-free lease of three business units to help the Moray Supports Refugees group; also notes that Moray Council waived the remaining 20% of rates following charity status deduction; believes that this gesture will go a long way to ensuring that Moray and Scotland are seen as a welcoming and supportive home for those fleeing war and persecution; understands that the units will be used to collect, sort and distribute humanitarian aid for refugees, and sends its best wishes and sincere gratitude to Moray Council for its work in supporting the group.