Monday, 21 November 2011

In Recognition of GalGael's Work

GalGael have been favourably mentioned in a variety of publications recently including articles from The World Health Organisation, Glasgow Centre for Population Health, Scottish Natural Heritage, Oxfam, British Journal of General Practice and Fiery Spirits- Community of Practice.
Its great to know that our pioneering work is being recognised by diverse organisations who have identified that our approach makes a real and positive impact on not only to peoples health and well being but on the local and wider community. Our work extends to improving the landscape itself like tree planting in Argyll, involvement in the local community garden and helping build tidal defences in South Uist
GalGael have long recognised the inter- connectivity between poor health, addiction and crime as a product of the break down of community life. We also recognise that giving people something meaningful to do in an environment where everyone is respected and valued goes a long way to rebuilding lives and good citizenship. Our day to day work shows how the cost to the State can be reduced by helping people to reduce medication, treatment and contact with the criminal justice system by getting to the heart of the problem and not just by sticking a plaster over it.

To find out more have a look at the links below.

Monday, 10 October 2011

GalGael AGM Thursday 27 October 5.30 til 9 p.m. GalGael Workshops 15 Fairley Street The past year has been a bit of a bumpy ride - as it has for many! But we're still here, still picking up hammers + chisels and making a difference where we can. Our AGM celebrates our journey through the year and the journey made by our participants. We do this through photos and collective remembering of the years events. We'll also be sharing food and music. Hope you can join us!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

GalGael in the Papers

 GalGael are once again in the newspapers.
Journalist Deborah Anderson has a half page in the Evening Times on the new GalGael CD "Birlinn".
We held a well attended launch event on the 15th Sept. with around 100 people in the building. Songs from the CD were performed live to a very appreciative audience and we managed to sell some copies of the CD on the night.
Thanks to all who came along in support and it was good to see a few well ken't faces.
(Click on images to enlarge)

An intreped cohort of stalwart eco-warrior poet GalGael volunteers are in South Uist, braving gales and rollers blasting in from the Atlantic to erect coastal defences against rising sea levels. Or maybe they are in the hotel.
This is the second posse we have sent up as part of an Oxfam project where various community groups work on initiatives to share skills and empower each other. Read more in Gordon Blackstock's article in the recent Sunday Post.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

GalGael Album Launch

The new GalGael album "Birlinn" is now on sale.
The whole project was initiated and brought to completion by some of our volunteers who also contributed their musical talents to a piece of work we are all very proud of.
Also included are songs and poems from staff and friends of GalGael and also includes some words from Colin.
We will be holding a launch (not a boat this time)event for the album on the evening of Thursday 15th September and all are welcome. Food and live music will be available.
If you would like to purchase the album online go to;
Thanks to all involved.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Interesting perspective on GalGael's work

Dr. Sandra Carlisle of the Afternow Project shared these thoughts on GalGael's work.

"One of the strengths of the GalGael Trust lies in the clear and obvious benefits it brings to participants, such as teaching various kinds of practical skills that foster their sense of social worth, and social skills that enable them to participate in and contribute more fully to their community - and, potentially, perhaps gain employment in future. It also, crucially, provides a culture of belonging for those who have often been shunned or dismissed by others. These are strengths the Trust shares with other exceptional community development organisations which deliver both intrinsic and instrumental benefits.

Where it differs from virtually all other such organisations – making it probably unique – is in providing a different kind of ‘story’ by which to live and with which to think, and thus a different kind of purpose and meaning in life. This strength should not be underestimated, even if it might not be readily understood by outsiders to the project. The meanings and values that GalGael participants bring to their work differ sharply from those found in mainstream society, where the dominant social and cultural values appear to be economism, individualism, consumerism and materialism. These dominant values impinge hardest on the lives of those living at the margins of mainstream society – unemployed people; people living in disadvantaged areas; people living on a low income, and so on – because they are associated with a particular way of life and a particular set of assumptions, from which disadvantaged people are effectively excluded. A key point to make here is that these mainstream values and assumptions have been found, by some of the most expert social commentators, to be damaging to both individual and social wellbeing. The conclusion many have drawn is that what makes for the good life, the life worth living - and in a sustainable form of society - is in urgent need of re-thinking.

The GalGael Trust actively resists the damaging socio-cultural trends referred to above in its day to day work and seeks to cultivate a deeper sense of what might be a life worth living. It arguably does this by re-integrating key dimensions of human life that are often separated by modernity, i.e. by forging new links between ‘the individual’ and ‘the collective’ (community, society etc) and between the social world and the natural world. An important point to make here is that, for any of to thrive in the face of the daunting problems now facing humanity world-wide, these separations urgently need to be addressed. The work of the GalGael Trust thus provides an extremely useful example of how this can be achieved, and one from which many others could learn. Given that most of the people with whom it works have experienced the most profound forms of disadvantage and exclusion, the Trust demonstrates the enduring human capacity for achieving transformational change and the ‘art of the possible’."

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

GalGael at Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival

Blessed with some blue sky, a work team of twenty occupied GalGael's now customary site in the Old Harbour at the Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival. Over the course of the weekend, the festival was reported to have 16,000 visitors and a fair whack of them will have come through our marquee, taking in carving, spinning and oar making. Our workshop back in Govan looked like we'd moved out as GalGael went on tour and set out their barra on the Moray Coast. It's always heart warming to interact with the general public and we got some tremendous feedback.

Mark on oar making

Rosie & Dougie rustle up custom on the raffle

Our boat (red, centre) nestles in with the rest of the skiffs

ps. if you entered the raffle, it was drawn on the stage in the harbour at 4 p.m. Sunday. 1st prize Flory, Portsoy; 2nd prize Romanik, Portsoy, 3rd prize Morag, Portsoy Thanks to all who entered!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Community against Coastal Erosion

Seumas and Tam reperesented GalGael along with staff and volunteers from Sunny Govan Radio, Tea in the Pot, Govanhill Baths and Karibou on a trip to South Uist to share experiences with locals and to see where we can help each other set up some new community initiatives. The trip was organised with Oxfam as part of their domestic strategy to deal with issues around poverty in the UK.
The group visited a fish farm, a hatchery, a seaweed processing facility and helped put up some fences as part of a coastal barrier to prevent the sea encroaching on precious farmland and machair. You can see pics at the link below.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

We're All Winners

A bunch of us piled in to a minibus and hit the M8 through to Edinburgh on Thursday night. We were short-listed for the Community Action category of the Scottish Charity Awards &..... we won! I like to think that it's an award for every nail that was hammered in off kilter, every saw cut that was off the mark and all those people who overcame these set backs to produce something beautiful and useful. And for all our beautiful and useful staff, board members, volunteers and participants! g x
and HERE

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Some pics from April 2011

new Govan

We were down at the Govan Cross Opening Ceremony on 1 June and the unveiling of the newly restored Aitken Memorial Fountain. It's all looking smart as paint. But I have to share this picture - one to strike fear in to the heart of any official! g

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

St Ayles Skiff

The St Ayles Skiff built by pupils from Smithycroft and St Mungo's high schools hit the water at Anstruther this weekend for her sea trial. The last coats of paint and varnish were put on last week before the GalGael team towed her up to the East Neuk of FiFe. The building of the boat has been taking place in the GalGael workshop over the last year as part of the Sense over Sectarianism project. Another skiff is well underway and is being collaboratively built by Lourdes Secondary and Govan High School. Find out more about the event at;

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

GalGael in the Gallery

Some of our staff and volunteers have been assisting in setting up a large sculptural work in Kelvingrove Gallery and Museum with artist Trish Cain.
A letter of thanks from Trish is shown below.
See the link within the text for youtube video:

Hi Martin
Anne and I just wanted to say a really huge thank you to everyone for the help you gave us to construct the installation for the Kelvingrove Exhibition.
Without the considerable skill and expertise of everyone at GalGael, it just wouldn’t have been possible at all and a huge part of the exhibition would have been left unfulfilled, so thank you for taking that phone call and then getting roped into it all!
We’ve had fantastic feedback about the structure and a lot of interest in the process of construction. As you know, a film was made about how the exhibition came together by Isla Pedrana and Solveig Seuss. Here’s the link to the uploaded video:
I’d like to say thank you to you, Norrie, Ben, Dave, Omair, Kevin, Stuart, Michael, Robert, Cameron and anyone else I’ve missed and also to say a special thank you to John Campbell for coming up so often to the gallery to help us.
Please keep me in mind for any assistance I might give you in return, particularly in relation to drawing projects, as I owe you.
All the best and see you soon no doubt.
Trish Cain

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Glasgow's Trees

Hope some of you make it down... there'll be crafts demonstrations and other activities on the day!

For a map showing how to find us - click here!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Govan Folk University

GalGael along with some other local groups and local folk are in the process setting up of the Govan Folk University.
We are asking, what kinds of knowledge and ways of learning do we need to empower our community and the people who live there. We believe that many of the answers lie in the people and with the spirit of the community itself.

You can find out more about who is involved and what we are hoping to do by clicking on the link below.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Boats on the go.

Its great to see plenty of boat action going on in the GalGael workshop right now. The St. Ayles skiff project with St Mungo's Academy and Smithycroft Secondary is nearing completion and looking great. We now have two local schools, Govan High and Lourdes Secondary pupils working on a second skiff and have got off to a great start with the formers in place and the group busy sawing and planing.

If you would like to build one of these 22ft rowing skiffs with your school or centre then check out the link below.

Both projects are being supervised by Ben Duffin who is also working on repairing Orcuan, our 32ft Hebridean Galley. She is back in the workshop after incurring some damage in the summer. Ben has been very active over the past while juggling all these projects but is finding out more about GalGael and what we do as well as what Orcuan means to us.

"In 2000 the Gal Gael launched Orcuan, a 30 ft Birlinn or Highland Galley. She is a very traditional Scottish boat and a thing of rare beauty. She is also an integral part of Gal Gael’s operations and much more than that an emblem, a symbol of what the Trust stands for. With this in mind you can imagine the feeling of dismay that went around the workshop when people heard that she had gone down in a storm while moored in Millport. She was saved from breaking up by Martin and Norie, lifted out of the water and eventually brought to the workshop at Fairley Street to be repaired.

I started working on her a month ago and the work is going well. Looking at the damage it soon became clear that in addition to replacing the four broken planks much of the internal structure would need to be replaced. She will need totally new seats (known as thwarts on a boat) and much of the structure associated with them in addition to many new frames and sister frames. A group of volunteers and myself have removed the first two thwarts and cleaned up the damaged areas. We have put in new structure for the two forward seats and got the first seat finished. The mast stands on a piece of wood known as the fish which has had four new knees made to replace broken ones from before.

So far all the new timber used has been sourced in Scotland by Gal Gael’s Timber business, from a boat builders perspective it is a rare thing to know exactly where the wood you use comes from and who milled it to planks. This connection is part of why this is such a wonderful place to be working.There is a lot of work still to do, but with a growing team of very skilled and eager volunteers learning as they work the work will move quickly. There is a lot of interest in the project in the workshop, we often have to explain what we are doing and how or why. I am frequently reminded how much of an honour it is to get a chance to be involved in Gal Gael at all, let alone be repairing the vessels that has been described to me more than once as ‘the soul of Gal Gael’."


Ben and volunteer Davy with Orcuan.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Wool dyeing workshop.

10th+17th of February from 5.30 pm
Heather, a member of
Galgael's woolcraft group offers a workshop in natural dyeing in GalGael.

Come, watch and get to know more about this ancient and still popular technique!

The Heart of Govan

GalGael participants were resplendent in ancient costume as part of a special performance held in Govan Old Parish Church in late January. Dressed as , Picts, Britons, Scots and Vikings we represented the ancient peoples who settled at the junction of the Clyde and the Kelvin. The "Oratorio" celebrated the many peoples who have shaped the heart of Govan over the centuries.
Well done to Frank Miller and Alex Harvey for all their hard work and imagination in pulling it all together. More details on the link below.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

All the best for 2011

We at GalGael would like to wish all our friends and associates all the very best for the New Year. 2010 was a testing year for us on a few fronts and though we are not out of the woods yet, we are dealing with things and are seeing signs of improvement. The workshop was a real hive of activity and we continue to make a real difference to the lives of those who come through our doors and have.
So all the best for 2011 and thanks for your support.