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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Sistema Scotland welcomes Promise chair to its board

This news post is 10 months old

Fiona Duncan of Promise Scotland will join Sistema’s team. 

Sistema Scotland, the transformational education charity which runs Big Noise programmes in disadvantaged communities, has welcomed the chair of the Promise Scotland to its board.

Fiona Duncan said she chose to join the charity because it delivers opportunities for children they would otherwise not have.

Fiona is chair of the body responsible for driving and supporting the change demanded by Scotland’s independent care review— which she also chaired – including ‘the promise’ to care-experienced children and young people that they will grow up loved, safe, and respected.

Until recently, she was the chief executive of the Corra Foundation, a philanthropic grant-giving organisation for people and communities experiencing disadvantage, and has decades of experience working in the voluntary sector. Today she is the strategic director.

Part of her role with Sistema Scotland will involve helping assess how the life-changing impact of the charity’s work is measured, and more broadly how Scotland measures what really matters to children and young people – which cannot be simply in terms of educational attainment.

As chair of the independent care review, Fiona ensured that the voices of children and young people were at the very centre of is purpose and heard throughout.

Fiona Duncan said: “I love Sistema Scotland; I love what it does, and the opportunities it gives to children and young people who are taking part in making music and developing life skills in the process.

“I particularly like the fact that the children and young people get opportunities that they might otherwise not have had; transformational opportunities where they can show their immense talent and passion, and their ability to work together.

“It gives children and young people moments to shine and to achieve something that they might otherwise not have had the opportunity to achieve – that they might otherwise never have dreamt of. I’m a big fan of Sistema Scotland and I’m really glad to be able to join the board.  

“What I’m looking forward to most is really getting to know some of the children and young people who have been part of the Sistema story over the years and who are part of the Sistema story now.”

Sistema Scotland runs Big Noise, a high-quality music education and social change , 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.

It operates in five areas that face greater disadvantage – Raploch and Fallin in Stirling, Douglas in Dundee, Govanhill in Glasgow, Torry in Aberdeen, and Wester Hailes in Edinburgh – and has 3,500 participants.

Evaluation of the Big Noise model shows participants are more likely to achieve positive outcomes when they leave school – and the programme also helps improve their concentration and language skills, enhance their problem solving and decision making, increase their self-esteem, develop strong friendships, and support networks. 

Sistema Scotland is chaired by former banker and government adviser Benny Higgins, and is currently recruiting for a new chief executive after Nicola Killean stood down from her role to become Scotland’s Children and Young People's Commissioner.

Benny Higgins, chair of Sistema Scotland, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Fiona to the board. She brings years of incredible experience of working with children and young people and campaigning to improve their lives.

“The work of The Promise Scotland aligns closely with what we achieve in our Big Noise programmes – ensuring that young people in disadvantaged situations can achieve their full potential.

“Our transformational social impact, which is rightly recognised by the Scottish Government, is beyond doubt – and at the start of a new school year we are looking forward to providing more opportunities for Scotland’s children and young people.”