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£10 million to boost youth music

Published: 4 Mar 2016 10:30

Arts play a vital role in tackling youth inequality.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop today announced £10 million continued funding for the refreshed Youth Music Initiative and revealed the recipients of £1.1million funding, in a key note speech stressing the vital role the arts have to play in tackling youth inequality.

Ms Hyslop confirmed the funding for the Youth Music Initiative, which allows young people to take part in music in and outside of school, for 2016-17 and announced the successful applicants through the Access To Music Making and Strengthening Youth Music awards of the final £1.1million YMI funding from 2015-16.

In a speech at Exchange, an event organised by Music for Youth in partnership with The Platform in Easterhouse, Glasgow, for young people involved in music, she stressed the Scottish Government's continuing commitment to Culture and the Arts, and the important role they have to play in tackling inequality and improving the life chances of young people.

She emphasised her commitment to ensuring all young people have access to the arts, whatever their background, and protecting and maintaining funding that allows this.

She said:

"If as a country we want Scotland to become a world leader in youth arts, we need the whole nation to commit to putting arts and creativity in and for and by our young people centre stage.

"I want culture to be for all young people because all young people deserve to experience the joy and happiness that experience and performance in the arts can bring.

"I know the difference that the arts can make to young people and to their life chances. Access to arts and culture not only give young people a chance to take part in these incredibly important activities, they also help them build skills and open the door to a better future.

"Participation in arts and culture can help young people realise their ambitions, wherever they lie. This can have huge benefits, and must be a priority, even in difficult financial times.

"This government supports young people and recognises the role youth arts play both as a platform to develop skills for the future and to tackle inequalities.

"Last year the Youth Music Initiative engaged with over 225,000 young people in and out of school. It's clear to me that the YMI makes a real difference – introducing music to thousands of young people and giving them a chance to get involved.

"At in a time of continuing restraint in public finances it is very important that Government still continues to recognise the valuable role of the arts and I am pleased to confirm we have protected and maintained YMI funding for 2016-17 at £10 million. In future, the programme will further focus on tackling inequalities, improving life chances and raising attainment."

Raymond Black, Youth Music Manager at Creative Scotland.

"Creative learning underpins Creative Scotland's commitment to ensuring that everyone can access and enjoy artistic creative experiences whoever they are, wherever they are from and at any stage in their life. YMI has given thousands of young people across Scotland the opportunity to learn about and enjoy music making activities.

"Taking part in musical activities can make a real difference to the lives of children and young people, as well as being fun and enjoyable, communications skills, confidence and self-esteem are developed and enhanced whilst also creating career pathways for Scotland's young talent.

"Our continued strong partnership with all thirty two of Scotland's local authorities enables the YMI to have a truly national reach. This partnership working ensures more children from all backgrounds, in all parts of Scotland, have an equal chance to develop and achieve their potential.

"None of this would be possible without the hugely talented and dedicated music practitioners working in communities across Scotland, increasing young people's awareness of music, arts and culture from Scotland and across the world."

Recipients of £1.1million YMI funding include Sistema Scotland, the National Piping Centre, the Scottish Brass Band Association, Reeltime Music, Sound Waves and Hazelwood Vision.


Darren, 16, was involved in the YMI funded Coltness Music Project and now volunteers for Reeltime Music in a number of projects (including those funded by YMI).

He said:

"I am a completely different person. I would never have been able to talk to anyone if it wasn't for Reeltime. My confidence was at an all-time low and I could barely talk to my parents. It helped me to communicate with people and I gained better teamwork skills. Usually if it wasn't my idea I wouldn't do it but I learned to take on board other people's ideas and compromise"

Zoe, 17, and Ant, 18, became involved with two media projects based in the Scottish Borders, Wired, which gives young people a chance to produce a radio show for Radio Borders, and VOMO TV, which allows them to produce a TV news bulletin.

Zoe was very shy when she got involved in the scheme when she was in the second year of high school. The scheme has boosted her confidence and given her experience working in the media – she secured an interview with the First Minister at the opening of the Borders Railway. She now plans to pursue a career in journalism after university.

She said:

"Taking part has definitely made me a different person. It's improved my confidence – I don't think I would have been able to speak to groups of people like I am now. I never really had anything I was good at. Now I'm thinking about going to university and pursuing journalism as a career. Having the experience has been incredible, it's helped me decide what I want to do in future."

Ant is eighteen years old and has an interest in radio and filmmaking. Ant is confined to a wheelchair, and is reliant on carers to support him, but is able to fully participate in Wired.

"Wired has made a real difference to my life. I have two jobs now and it's helped me move up in them. I never found anything that I really wanted to do before until I found wired. Now I feel more confident doing stuff, I am taking responsibility for things more."

Ross, 15, found parkour classes helped him manage his anger and build his confidence, helping him break out of a cycle of poor behaviour and have hope for the future.

He said:

"I had a difficult childhood, my parents didn't take care of me, and I ended up in care. I used to get in fights, smash windows, isolate myself. I was in an endless cycle, I wanted to break out but I didn't know how.

"I used to be very angry. Parkour has helped me channel my anger and helped me with my confidence. Through it I've met people from around the world and it's helped make it easier for me to be around different people.

"I would hate to turn back into the guy I used to be. Now I feel like I can have a family, find a job, get a house. I can do so much better now all these doors have been opened."

Notes to editors

Films with more information and quotes from Ross, Zoe and Ant are available here:

Youth Arts Scotland - Zoë and Ant's Story -

Youth Arts Scotland - Ross's Story -

These are free to use and higher quality files are available here

Sistema Scotland will enable the next generations of children in Raploch, Govanhill and Torry to access Big Noise, offering an inclusive, immersive and intensive programme of high quality, out of school music-making. Across all three Big Noise centres, children moving into Primary 3 will be engaged in the after-school orchestra programme for the first time as string players. In Big Noise Raploch and Big Noise Govanhill, children moving into Primaries 5 and 6 will be encouraged to join or re-engage with the programme as woodwind, brass or percussion players.

The National Piping Centre grant will support the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland Programme of Excellence: to inspire the composition and arrangement of new music, enhancement of performance, and delivery of educational outreach throughout Scotland.

The Scottish Brass Band funding will establish new youth brass bands throughout Scotland and in doing so to give young people an opportunity to learn a worthwhile, lifelong, pleasurable skill.

Reeltime Music will work in partnership with local organisations to meet the needs of young parents facing disadvantage within the local community.

Sound Waves, delivered by Mull Music Makers, provides access to high quality music-making opportunities in a severely under-serviced remote area through a regular programme of music workshops. The workshops are delivered by our experienced team of professional music tutors and focus on developing core musicianship skills through Kodaly-based singing games, rhythm skills, music theory and group violin tuition.

Hazelwood Vision will primarily focus on young people with Additional Support for Learning Needs. It will enable further development and sharing of previously learned skills. It will also enable more and different young people to acquire new skills in music making and music technology. It will bring young people together to make music, celebrate ability, reach out to the wider community and begin the acquisition of employability skills and skills for life. Through training opportunities and practical delivery tutors, trainees, students and volunteers will develop their knowledge and experience of inclusive practice. This project will contribute greatly to the future sustainability of musicALL.