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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Minister visits charity’s Govanhill centre

This news post is 7 months old
 

Natalie Don travelled to meet Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise project.

Children’s Minister Natalie Don joined young people at a music and social change programme in Glasgow to hear about its life-changing impact.

Ms Don met participants and staff at Big Noise Govanhill including head of centre Kate McPhail, senior musician Ed Holmes, and Paul Sullivan, Sistema Scotland’s director for children, young people and communities.

The minister was given a tour of the centre and had the opportunity to watch some of the music lessons taking place during the after-school session.

Ms Don chatted with the young people involved in the Big Noise Govanhill youth voice group, who shared some of the issues that are important to them and their community.

She also watched the Wind Band, Percussion and Brass group practising, as well as the B orchestra Violins and Violas, United Orchestra and Concert Band Tutti.

Natalie Don, Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise, said: “I have had a fantastic visit where I've been able to see first-hand the impact Big Noise has on the children it works with. The project provides important opportunities to widen access to culture and it was clear from speaking to some of the young people involved how much this was valued.

“It’s good to see the results from our support for Sistema Scotland over the last 16 years and we've continued to invest in our young people by providing £2.6 million in 2023/24 to enable Sistema to continue to deliver their Big Noise programmes for the children and communities they work with.”

Big Noise Govanhill recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Since launching in 2013, the programme has grown to support around 1,250 children and young people, from babies to S6, as well as their families and the wider community.

The programme supports young people to reach their full potential by helping them develop vital life skills such as confidence, resilience, creativity, and aspiration, while also strengthening community ties through music and nurturing relationships.

Studies of the Big Noise model have found it enhances academic skills, including listening, problem-solving, and concentration, as well as increasing participants’ self-esteem, their sense of belonging, and happiness. 

Big Noise Govanhill operates in schools and nurseries and as an after-school club, reducing barriers for parents seeking work or training. Healthy food is also provided before all activity sessions.

Paul Sullivan, Sistema Scotland’s director for children, young people and communities, said:

“We were delighted to welcome the Minister for Children and Young People Natalie Don to Big Noise Govanhill to discuss our work in Glasgow and across Scotland.

“The visit gave Ms Don the chance to see and hear first-hand the transformative impact we are having on children, young people and the wider community here in Govanhill. We were also pleased that Ms Don had the opportunity to meet directly with young people involved in our youth voice work, and hear about the issues that are important to them

“We are immensely grateful to the Scottish Government for its ongoing support of our work to improve lives and overcome the effects of poverty and inequality.

“It is clear that Big Noise, through nurturing and supportive relationships, helps children and young people reach their full potential by equipping them with vital life skills and enhancing their academic skills.”

Sistema Scotland now runs six Big Noise centres supporting a combined 3,500 children and young people in communities around Scotland including in Govanhill, Raploch and Fallin in Stirling, Douglas in Dundee, Torry in Aberdeen, and Wester Hailes in Edinburgh.

The Scottish Government has invested in Sistema Scotland's Big Noise programmes for over a decade. Earlier this year, it committed increased support for 2023/24 to ensure the sustainability of the programmes in an increasingly challenging funding context.

In addition, the organisation continues to raise significant funding from private trusts, foundations, lotteries, corporates, and individuals.