Disadvantaged young people’s orchestra given £2.5m of government cash

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​The funding will last four years and help Sistema Scotland reach an extra 700 young people in some of the countries most deprived areas

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11th March 2016 by Paul Cardwell 1 Comment

A charity which introduces children living in some of Scotland’s most deprived areas to orchestra music has been awarded £2.5 million from the Scottish Government.

Sistema Scotland has been awarded the cash over the next four years to expand its work in Stirling, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

The charity encourages and teaches young people to play an instrument and be part of an orchestra centre, known as Big Noise centres, in order to build their confidence, pride and aspirations and improve their discipline and teamwork skills.

Currently Sistema works with 1,500 children and young people in Raploch in Stirling, Govanhill in Glasgow and Torry in Aberdeen by engaging them in Big Noise youth orchestras.

The new funding will enable it to work with at least an extra 700 young people.

Children and young people who attend not only have the potential to go on and lead fuller and healthier lives

Richard Holloway, chairman of the Sistema Scotland board, said the charity’s work was bringing about social transformation in the communities it serves.

“This new investment will not only help us to continue with our existing work,” he said.

“The recent study by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health showed Big Noise attendees achieve higher levels of attainment and attendance at school, and have higher levels of confidence, pride and self-esteem.

“Children and young people who attend not only have the potential to go on and lead fuller and healthier lives, but the programme has the potential to quickly generate greater social benefits than the costs of delivery.”

Based on the methods of Venezuela’s El Sistema movement, Sistema Scotland’s first Big Noise centre was established in Raploch in 2008, the second in 2013 in Govanhill and the third in Torry in June 2015.

Announcing the funding, Scottish Government culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “No young person’s background should be a barrier to taking part in cultural life or realising the immeasurable benefits that the arts can bring. I want every child and young person in Scotland to be able to reach their full potential and fulfil their ambitions. Through its creative, empowering and energising approach, Sistema Scotland is helping us to achieve this and so much more, transforming the lives of thousands of young people in three of our most disadvantaged communities.

“This is a direct investment in the future of more than 2,000 of our children and young people over the next four years and a vote of confidence in Sistema Scotland’s proven ability to unlock the unlimited potential of our next generation.”


12th March 2016 by William Douglas

There is no doubt that Big Noise makes a difference to disadvantaged children, building confidence, pride and aspirations, improving their discipline and teamwork skills. Established in the Raploch, Stirling Council has, at last, recognised that there needs to be an exit strategy. This project cannot go on forever. It simply reduces funds available for music elsewhere in the county, deriving children from all backgrounds of their opportunity to build those skills. Poverty does not just exist in urban areas.