AN INITIATIVE aimed at helping to provide support and music tuition for young people in Stirlingcelebrated its 13th birthday recently.

Big Noise Raploch recently celebrated its birthday by reflecting on all it has achieved over the past year, including a return to face-to-face teaching both in school and at the centre’s much-loved after-school club.

The team also continued to provide support and digital music tuition for the children and young people involved in the programme.

To date, Big Noise Raploch has provided almost 3,000 online lessons to participants since the beginning of the pandemic, supporting children and families during this difficult time.

Meanwhile, across the past month there have been more than 80 children and young people from more than 90 families attending the Big Noise Raploch holiday club.

Most recently the children were excited to be working with musicians from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, a continuation of the strong partnership between Big Noise Raploch and the BBC SSO, offering an amazing opportunity for the Big Noise Raploch participants to learn from this renowned orchestra.

Vicky Williams, head of centre at Big Noise Raploch, said: “We are delighted to have been able to resume face-to-face teaching this year as well as continue to provide digital music lessons for our participants.

“I am so proud of our Big Noise Raploch team and all of our children and young people for all they have achieved over the past year.

“Their hard work, enthusiasm and dedication has been remarkable. I also want to thank all the schools that we work with, our partners, funders and the community of Raploch, who constantly inspire us and also make this all possible."

Cllr Chris Kane, Convener of Stirling Council’s Planning and Regeneration Committee, which oversees the local authority’s partnership with Sistema Scotland, says he can’t wait to see the young performers live again.

He said: “The Big Noise has adapted fantastically during the ongoing pandemic to ensure our children and young people could continue their music tuition and develop a wide array of skills.

“While everyone on the programme won’t be able to enjoy their normal birthday concert due to the current restrictions, they should celebrate and be proud of their hard work, commitment and achievements during a hugely challenging year.

“I can’t wait to see our talented Big Noise performers live in concert again – and hopefully that time will come around soon as we recover from the pandemic.”

Maggie Hutchison, local community member, says the group have been ‘life-changing’ for her children.

She said: “It’s helped them develop a real belief in themselves and what they can go on to achieve. The lockdown was tough. It would have been so easy for them to end up stuck in the house, not seeing anyone.

“Having the Big Noise lessons and all the other online activities helped to keep them busy and lifted their moods. We were all at home together during the lockdown and they were all playing their instruments together and practicing every day.

"I’ve had three children go through Big Noise and it’s been life-changing for all of them.”