Sistema’s Big Noise groups in Aberdeen and Dundee were under threat
Music charity programmes operating in some of Scotland’s most deprived community have welcomed the release of additional funding to ensure they can continue.
On Saturday the Scottish Government announced additional funding for Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise programmes.
Following an extended campaign by the charity, which has seen significant support in recent weeks, ministers announced the government will provide an additional £1.5 million to help fund programmes in Dundee, Aberdeen and elsewhere.
Sistema Scotland supports 3,500 children and young people through its Big Noise programmes in Douglas, Dundee, Torry, Aberdeen, Govanhill, Glasgow, Wester Hailes, Edinburgh and in Raploch and Fallin, Stirling.
Aberdeen and Dundee city councils had announced funding for their Big Noise youth orchestras had been cut, with fears raised about the future of other projects.
But the government has now said it will cover the shortfall.
Nicola Killean, chief executive of Sistema Scotland, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Scottish Government recognises the transformational impact of our programmes and has stepped in to provide the additional £1.5m that we lost from councils, which helps secure the long-term sustainability across all of our Big Noise programmes.
“We are grateful to ministers, those councils that did stand by us, and all of our wonderful funders and the wider community who have sent us so many messages of support over the past weeks.
“This will make a lasting difference to young people's lives in our most disadvantaged communities.”
Culture minister Neil Gray said that the Big Noise programmes play a “hugely valuable role” by supporting young people in disadvantaged communities.
He said: “Despite the ongoing budget pressures facing the Scottish Government as a result of raging UK inflation, the impact of more than a decade of austerity and Barnett funding down five per cent in real terms since 2021-22, we want to ensure Sistema Scotland can continue to fund these projects.
“That is why the Scottish Government has written to Sistema Scotland to provide written assurance that they will provide Sistema with the additional funding required for next year. This is expected to be around £1.5m, to ensure young people continue to benefit from the Big Noise projects in Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.
“We value the importance of cultural organisations and their contribution to the wellbeing of the country to promote the arts, provide employment and engage with communities across Scotland.
“We will continue to work with the culture sector to do everything within our powers and resources to help those most affected by current economic challenges as well as urge the UK government to ensure sufficient support is made available for Scotland’s culture sector.”