Orchestra scheme showing ‘positive outcomes’ for children in underprivileged communities

An orchestra scheme set up to help children in some of Scotland’s most underprivileged communities has had “positive outcomes”, new research has found.

Sistema Scotland, which runs the Big Noise programmes around Scotland, provides children with a high-quality music education – with the scheme, which was first set up in 2008, now working with more than 3,200 children and young people across five cities.

Research on the impact it has had was carried out by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH), who compared outcomes for those taking part in the Big Noise in the Raploch area of Stirling with others who did not take part in the scheme.

Of those who had been involved with Big Noise, 98% were found to have achieved “positive post-school outcomes”, compared to 84% of those from a similar social-economic background who did not take part.

This included more than two fifths (42%) of Big Noise attendees being in employment, compared to 30% of non-attendees.

This most recent study is the fourth conducted by GCPH as part of the organiSation’s long-term evaluation of the Big Noise model.

Nicola Killean, CEO of Sistema Scotland, said: “Sistema Scotland is dedicated to improving lives and helping children and young people realise their potential. We are delighted that this report demonstrates the benefit that Big Noise provides in improving post-school outcomes for our participants.

“This would not be possible without our long-standing support from and partnership with Stirling Council and the Scottish Government, whose commitment to Big Noise has allowed us to grow, innovate and strengthen the communities we work with.”

The programme is also run in Govanhill in Glasgow, the Torry area of Aberdeen, Douglas in Dundee, and Wester Hailes in Edinburgh.

Culture minister Neil Gray commented: “I’m delighted to see that Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise programme in Raploch is having such positive outcomes on the futures of the children who participate in it.

“As well as engaging children in the world of music, the research also shows how Big Noise has an impact on learning, education and employment by encouraging the development of social and life skills and supporting emotional well-being.

“Big Noise, which operates in several locations throughout Scotland, underlines the Scottish Governments’ commitment to social change in some of our most deprived communities.”

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