Big Noise project funding fears

Big noise crop

The Raploch Project - which provides free music tuition to youngsters in deprived areas - faces losing almost half of its local authority funding

25th January 2018 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

A project which has helped to revitalise an impoverished area faces severe funding cuts.

The Big Noise Raploch project was founded a decade ago, with children in the Stirling housing estate being given the chance to gain confidence through learning to play in an orchestra.

The initiative has been rolled out to other parts of the country after being found to have helped create confidence amongst young people and aiding them to succeed at school.

However the orchestra now faces an uncertain future after it was revealed that Stirling Council could slash its funding.

The authority’s Priority Budget Proposals reveal that project's annual budget would be reduced from £500,000 to £275,000 by 2022.

A Sistema Scotland spokesperson said they were very concerned at the plans. They said: “While Sistema Scotland recognise that the public sector is under financial pressure, this is a cut too far and could have a devastating effect on the children who participate in Big Noise and the local Raploch community.

“The aim of Big Noise is to transform the lives of children living in disadvantaged areas through music and strengthen communities.

“This can only be achieved if Big Noise is adequately resourced.”

The project provides free music tuition to almost 500 members, from pre-school age through to those in senior years at secondary school. The charity fears that the cuts will force them to reduce the number of children involved and reduce the quality of the programme.

The council has highlighted that no final decision has been made on the plans, with a consultation on the proposals running until 5 February.

A Stirling Council spokesman said: “It is important to stress that no decisions have been taken. This is one of a number of budget options which we’re encouraging the public to provide their views on, via the budget consultation. All of the feedback received will be collated and help to inform councillors when they meet to set the budget on 22 February.”

Third Force News reported earlier this week that the Stirling Smith museum also faces losing its £242,000 funding by 2022/23 as part of the proposals.

26th January 2018 by William Douglas

Whilst there is no doubt that Big Noise has made a difference to the children of the Raploch, it has also made a difference to children throughout the rest of the county - a negative difference. Lack of funding for music in the outlying areas has reduced children's involvement in music. Teaching staff has been slashed and contact time though music sessions reduced to almost zero. The Raploch is not the only place where children have special needs, but centralising funding on one project at the expense of many in rural schools. £500,000 could have been allocated to pay for 10 music teachers throughout the county. Now, what a difference that would have made!