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Community members’ plea to Aberdeen councillors to support music charity

This news post is about 1 year old

The city’s Big Noise Torry fears funding shortfall following similar issues in Dundee. 

Community members have written to councillors urging them to continue funding for a transformational education programme in one of Aberdeen’s most disadvantaged areas.

Parents, grandparents, and carers told how Big Noise Torry creates community cohesion and teaches young people vital life skills.

In a series of emails to their local councillors, council co-leaders Alex Nicoll and Ian Yuill, and several committee conveners, they wrote about the impact of the programme on their own families and the wider community.

Sistema Scotland, the charity that runs Big Noise, is concerned it could also face a funding shortfall in Aberdeen due to pressure on local authority finances and after a decision was made in Dundee last week to axe support for a sister programme in Douglas.

Aberdeen City Council is due to decide its own budget on Wednesday, but no confirmation has yet been received that a partnership agreement to pay 75 per cent of Big Noise Torry’s annual programme costs will be honoured as expected.

Leanne Garden, whose 10-year-old daughter Emily is a Big Noise participant, described the programme as a “huge part” of the community and said there are very few other recreational activities for young people in the area.

She said: “To enrol children into any hobbies means that parents have to travel to venues outside of Torry.

“A lot of parents cannot afford this especially in the current cost-of-living crisis.”

Lorraine Adamson’s granddaughter Chloe Stirton has been going to Big Noise for seven years.

Lochside Academy pupil Chloe, 13, has learned to play the violin would like to become a violin teacher when she leaves school.

Lorraine said councillors should “think hard” about their decisions ahead of the budget meeting and the upset any cut in funding would cause.

Big Noise community orchestra member Patricia Noguera said the programme provides children and young people with a “sense of belonging” while also teaching them “the power of teamwork”.

She said: “It is a lot more than the beauty of giving kids the gift of another language (music) as a tool to express themselves.”

Bianca Duthie, mum to Big Noise participant Matthew, 12, said the programme has helped her son “grow into a well-rounded, confident and creative young man”.

She started a petition calling for Aberdeen City Council to continue its financial support, which now has around 1,000 signatures.

Bianca highlighted the support the programme offered during the Covid pandemic, and told how it also includes wellbeing walks, community events, and visits to a local care home from staff and children. 

Big Noise Torry launched in Aberdeen in July 2015 and supports more than 750 children and young people from the community.

Through music and targeted intervention, the programmes equip young people with the confidence, discipline, strength, and resilience they will need as they move into adulthood.

As well as in Torry, Sistema Scotland runs Big Noise programmes in Douglas in Dundee, Govanhill in Glasgow, Wester Hailes in Edinburgh and Raploch and Fallin in Stirling.



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