Big Noise celebrates a big birthday

Big noise 2 web

More than 3,500 children have learned to play an instrument since the project began

1st February 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A project which gives deprived children new opportunities through music is celebrating a milestone anniversary.

Big Noise marked its 10th birthday this week with the launch of a #100BigHellos social media campaign to raise awareness of how it has helped transform the lives of children who live in disadvantaged communities through music.

Around 350 community members, partners, supporters and funders attended the birthday celebration in Raploch, Stirling, the first Big Noise centre to be set up by the charity Sistema Scotland in 2008. 

More than 2,500 children from babies to older teenagers now attend Big Noise centres in Govanhill, Glasgow, Torry, Aberdeen and Douglas, Dundee.

Messages of congratulations were sent to Sistema Scotland from a range of partners including Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and several local authorities.

The Big Noise 10th birthday celebration was hosted by Sally Magnusson, a board member of Sistema. It featured the story of Big Noise through performances by younger children from an after school club and the Big Noise Symphony Orchestra, and interviews with older children who have been in the programme for 10 years. The event was followed by a ceilidh.

Independent research by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, Education Scotland and the Scottish Government has consistently found that Big Noise has a positive impact on children’s lives.

Involvement in the project has been shown to improve children's engagement with education, develop life skills, secure emotional wellbeing, build social skills, encourage healthy behaviours and offer respite and protection for some of Scotland's most vulnerable children.

Over the past 10 years, 3,543 children have taken part in the Big Noise programme in school or nursery. Children have received around 210,000 healthy snacks, around 33,000 volunteer hours were worked with 81 volunteering opportunities a year, and 107 new jobs have been created by Sistema Scotland.

Richard Holloway, the chairman and founder of Sistema Scotland, said:  “Some of our older children from Raploch are about to take their first steps into further education and employment. We hope that being part of Big Noise has given them the self-belief, confidence and knowledge that it is possible to shape your life for the better. Whatever path they take, we know they will be able to make a positive contribution to society and pass on their wisdom to the next generation.

“Down the ages there have always been millions who have marched for a better way of life; a more equal society. And the great thing about those who have marched for justice is that, while they never had the biggest armies, they always had the best tunes. Music was their biggest ally.

“That’s what we are doing with Big Noise. We are marching the children of Scotland into a better future and a more equal society, with an orchestra leading the way.” 

Big Noise helped me to cope with bullying

David Church (17), who plays percussion in Big Noise Raploch, said the programme had helped him to cope with dyslexia and bullying at school.

He said: “Being part of Big Noise has been an amazing opportunity and I wish it was something that more people had the chance to experience. Since joining in 2010, Big Noise has had a real impact on my life and I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today without it. When I was younger I was really quite shy and struggled with being bullied, but Big Noise has helped build up my confidence and enabled me to really focus.

"Today I play percussion in the Big Noise Raploch Symphonic Band, as well as being a member of the Big Noise Youth board. It is great fun. Not only has Big Noise helped me musically, it’s increased my self-belief, allowed me to develop new skills and to make friends with people I might never have had the chance to meet."