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People change lives: evaluation of Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise programme

Date: March 2019
Category: Report
Author: Chris Harkins and Katie Moore

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This report is intended to consolidate and summarise the learning from the first five years of a ‘life-course evaluation’ of Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise programme. The aim of this report is to inform the development of policy and practice which recognises the importance of social and early years interventions, their potential benefits and the key decisions which must be made concerning their role within community-based regeneration and in wider society.

Our findings are consistent across the Big Noise centres in Glasgow, Stirling and Aberdeen despite different community contexts and participant demographics. Broadly, the impacts can be summarised as follows:

  • Increasing confidence, discipline, pride, and aspiration.
  • Improved team-working, communication, and leadership.
  • Enhanced academic skills including listening, concentration, and creativity.
  • Increased resilience, happiness, sense of belonging and fulfilment.
  • Strong musical skills development.
  • Uptake of physical activity and healthy eating, avoidance of damaging behaviours.
  • Development of positive social groups, peer relationships and cultural engagement.
  • Respite and protection for vulnerable participants.

The learning from the first five years of the evaluation of Big Noise has been expansive and relevant to a range of areas of practice and delivery, and policy priorities such as the Scottish National Performance Framework and the Public Health Priorities. However when distilling down all of the Big Noise delivery principles and the evidenced impacts, the core message from the evaluation so far would have to be ‘people change lives’.