Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, Neil Gray MSP, visited Big Noise Raploch this July to see the delivery of the programme’s summer school and see the success of the Big Noise model first-hand.
During his visit, Mr Gray met with musicians and young people involved in Big Noise and was treated to a musical performance by some of the programme’s participants.
Big Noise is a high-quality music education and social change programme, where the symphony orchestra becomes a community which supports children and young people to gain vital life skills such as confidence, resilience, creativity and aspiration. Through music and nurturing relationships, from infancy to adulthood, Big Noise supports participants’ wellbeing and helps them reach their full potential. The programme also aims to strengthen the communities where it is based; developing relationships with participants and their families based on mutual respect, trust and a commitment to work together and tackle inequalities for the long term. The Big Noise programmes are run by the charity Sistema Scotland.
Since first beginning delivery in Raploch 14 years ago, the Big Noise programme has become a cornerstone of the local community. The programme works with almost 500 children and young people in the local community weekly – from babies to S6. Following the continued success of the Big Noise programme in Raploch, Big Noise has recently expanded to another area in the Stirling area – with a new programme in Fallin beginning delivery last year. In addition to the two programmes in Stirling, Sistema Scotland has Big Noise programmes in Govanhill in Glasgow, Torry in Aberdeen, Douglas in Dundee, and Wester Hailes in Edinburgh. In total, the Big Noise model supports more than 3000 children and young people across Scotland.
Independent evaluation of the Big Noise model by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health has shown that taking part in Big Noise helps children to improve their concentration and language skills, enhance their problem solving and decision making, increase their self-esteem and develop strong friendships and support networks. Further independent evaluation by Dundee University found that the Big Noise programme in the city’s Douglas area was fostering community spirit and cohesiveness with a sense of pride in children’s achievements. The children and young people who take part in the Big Noise programme have benefitted from improvements in social and life skills, increased levels of self-confidence, and benefit from the respite, support, and protection that the programme provides.
Mr Gray met with Nicola Killean, CEO of Sistema Scotland, and with a number of Big Noise Raploch’s participants and alumni to hear more about the experience of growing up in a Big Noise programme and how it has shaped their hopes and ambitions for the future.
Neil Gray, Culture Minister, said:
“It has been wonderful to visit Sistema Scotland in Raploch to see for myself the positive impact the Big Noise programme is having on the children and families in the community. Big Noise not only offers children the opportunity to engage creatively with the arts, but the model also has wider social and economic benefits such as tackling child poverty.
We’re very proud to support Sistema Scotland’s work to widen access to high quality cultural opportunities with £1.1 million in funding for 2022/23. This supports longer standing Big Noise programmes in Raploch, Govanhill, Torry and Douglas, and their newest project in Wester Hailes, in Edinburgh.”
Nicola Killean, CEO of Sistema Scotland, said:
“We were delighted to welcome the Minister for Culture, Europe, and International Development to the Big Noise centre in Raploch to see the work that we are doing in the community first-hand. Sistema Scotland is committed to supporting children, young people and families, through our Big Noise programmes, to become happy, healthy and confident adults, and to strengthen the amazing communities we work alongside. Our work directly supports delivery of a range of National Performance Framework outcomes as well as other key Scottish Government strategies and objectives. The consistent support that we receive from the Scottish Government and our other funders and supporters makes the vital work of all of our Big Noise programmes across Scotland possible.”
Vicky Williams, Head of Centre at Big Noise Raploch, said:
“It was fantastic having Mr Gray visiting the children and young people during our summer programme this year. Our participants relished the opportunity to perform for such a special guest during his visit. Whilst continuing to support the children and young people of Raploch in our delivery throughout the school term, we are delighted to offer our participants extra lessons through our summer programme thanks to the support of our fantastic funders, including the Scottish Government and Stirling Council.”
Councillor Gerry McGarvey, Convener of Stirling Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, said:
"Stirling Council is proud to support the work of Big Noise in Raploch and Fallin due to the wide-ranging benefits the programme delivers for our children, young people and families. The work by the teams at Big Noise's centres in Raploch and Fallin improves lives and strengthens these amazing communities. As a long-term partner and financial supporter of Sistema Scotland and its Big Noise programmes across Stirling, we hope the programme continues to thrive for years to come."