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Sistema Scotland joins the Scottish Youth Parliament as a partner organisation

Sistema Scotland guests at SYP's 80th National Sitting in Aberdeen in October 2023 - from left to right, Tochi, aged 16, Cayden, aged 14, Anthony Cowie and Leo MacKenzie.
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Sistema Scotland and the Scottish Youth Parliament are thrilled to announce a new partnership, with Sistema becoming an Associate National Voluntary Organisation of the Scottish Youth Parliament. This announcement is a significant milestone in both organisations journeys and aligns perfectly with Sistema’s mission of using music as a tool for social change.  Joining SYP as an Associate NVO provides Sistema with an incredible opportunity to expand and deepen our youth voice work and give children and young people a powerful platform to have their voices heard on the national stage.

Last weekend’s National Sitting of SYP in Aberdeen was attended by two young people from Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise Torry programme. Tochi (16) and Cayden (14) took part in a number of events and activities during the course of the National Sitting where they learned about the work of SYP and the opportunities that Sistema Scotland’s new association with SYP can afford young people in their area.
Sistema Scotland is the charity that operates Big Noise, the transformational music education programme which uses the symphony orchestra as a tool for social change. The approach revolves around the belief that the symphony orchestra can become a life-changing force within targeted communities. By harnessing the power of music, the charity supports children and young people in developing vital life skills such as confidence, resilience, teamwork, pride, creativity, and aspiration. Beyond music education, Sistema Scotland’s main goal is to strengthen community cohesion and address inequalities in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas.

Currently, the organisation operates Big Noise programs in Raploch and Fallin in Stirling, Govanhill in Glasgow, Douglas in Dundee, Torry in Aberdeen, and Wester Hailes in Edinburgh. These programmes provide invaluable support to families by offering free childcare and nutritious meals after school and during holidays. Big Noise also provides opportunities for children and young people that they may not otherwise have access to. In addition to high-quality music education, children and young people can engage in various community activities and benefit from residential trips during school breaks.

The impact of Big Noise extends far beyond music education. Independent evaluations conducted by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health has demonstrated the breadth of positive impacts achieved by children and young people participating in Big Noise. These include educational benefits, such as improved school attendance and positive post-school destinations. Moreover, our programs help young people develop life skills, emotional resilience, and social connections, fostering a sense of pride, citizenship and self-esteem.

Becoming an Associate NVO of the Scottish Youth Parliament gives Sistema a unique opportunity to enhance the commitment to amplifying the voices of young people in our Big Noise communities. The aim at Big Noise is to support children and young people to have agency and ownership over their full Big Noise journey, but also within their wider community and Scotland as a whole. This partnership presents a perfect opportunity to further the work that we do in our Big Noise with our young people around promoting youth voice and equipping our young people with the skills and confidence to become Scotland’s next generation of young leaders.

The new partnership with the Scottish Youth Parliament means that children and young people now have a powerful platform to express their thoughts, concerns, ideas and aspirations at a national level. By working closely with SYP, our young people can advocate for policies and initiatives that support the well-being and development of young people in Scotland. It enables Sistema to bridge the gap between local and national discussions, ensuring that the voices of our participants are heard at all levels of decision-making.

Sistema Scotland’s inclusion as an Associate National Voluntary Organisation of the Scottish Youth Parliament is a significant step forward in their commitment to empowering young people in Scotland. We are excited about the opportunities this partnership will bring and look forward to further amplifying the voices of our children, young people, and communities across the country. Together, we can continue to make a positive impact on the lives of children and young people throughout Scotland.

“We are absolutely delighted to join the Scottish Youth Parliament as an Associate National Voluntary Organisation. This partnership perfectly aligns with our mission of empowering the children and young people in our Big Noise communities through music and community engagement. This exciting new opportunity offers our children and young people a powerful platform to have their voices heard on a national stage, and to represent the wonderful communities that we work with on a daily basis.”

Paul Sullivan, Sistema Scotland’s Director for Children, Young People and Communities

“It’s great to have Sistema Scotland on board as an Associate National Voluntary Organisation! Sistema does excellent work in communities across Scotland through their Big Noise program. We’re looking forward to seeing our relationship grow and develop, both including Sistema’s Youth Voice initiatives as well as ensuring the voices of the children and young people they work with are represented within SYP.”

– Mollie McGoran MSYP, SYP Chair

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