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Dundee Council’s budget cut to Big Noise project condemned 

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Councillors agreed to cut the funding despite pleas from parents of children using the service. 

The decision by Dundee Council’s majority administration to withdraw all funding from the Big Noise Douglas programme has been condemned for breaking a promise to children and young people.

Councillors heard an impassioned plea from community members and were asked to continue supporting the project which has transformed lives in one of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas.

The charity behind Big Noise, Sistema Scotland, also put forward a significantly reduced funding request to reflect the difficult financial decisions facing local authorities.

But the council budget, which includes a move to take away all council funding for the programme, was approved this evening.

That breaks a promise in the partnership agreement to provide the majority of the programme’s funding from 2021/22 onwards.

It follows a campaign during which nearly 1,500 people supported a community-led petition calling for the council to continue funding Big Noise, with community members also writing to elected members to highlight the impact of the programme in the area. 

And in an emotional deputation to members ahead of the budget vote, Marc Nugent and Kara Donald – whose young children are Big Noise participants – told how the programme had improved young people’s confidence and given them a “purpose”. 

As it works to assess the full impact of the decision, Sistema Scotland is appealing for donations so that it can continue to support the Douglas community.

Nicola Killean, chief executive of Sistema Scotland, said: “This is a devastating decision for the community of Douglas.

“For the council to so brazenly break its promise to children, young people and their families is heart-breaking.

“Over the past five years in Douglas, we have provided respectful and empowering support to help young people reach their full potential.

“Our work is more important than ever, which is why it is so upsetting that councillors have abandoned the Douglas community.

“We will now have to assess the full impact of this shocking decision, and we are appealing to anyone who can support us to donate to the future of Big Noise Douglas.”