THE Scottish Government has provided £1.5 million in funding for a music project at risk of closure because of squeezed council budgets.

Following pressure – including from four SNP MSPs – culture minister Neil Gray (below) confirmed Nicola Sturgeon had approved the backing of the Big Noise projects, organised by Sistema Scotland, by the Scottish Government.

The National:

The projects – run in deprived areas of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling – use music to improve the life chances of young people and have attracted widespread praise.

But the programmes have been put at risk by stretched council budgets, with local authorities being forced to fill financial black holes and Big Noise being placed under threat.

READ MORE: Big Noise in Scotland: What is it, where are they based and more

In a letter to Stirling MSP Evelyn Tweed, Gray said: “In such a challenging economic climate, against a backdrop of spiking inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, I understand local authorities have had to make difficult choices to balance their budgets.

“The Scottish Government values the great work that Sistema Scotland do and recognise the important role of the Big Noise programme in supporting over 2000 young people in disadvantaged communities who rely on this service.

“I am pleased to confirm that the First Minister has asked the Scottish Government to step in to ensure that Sistema Scotland get the funding they need, which we understand is around £1.5 million.”

Responding to the news, Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick said: “I am delighted the Scottish Government has stepped in to protect these Sistema Big Noise projects.

“People in Douglas in Dundee, Torry in Aberdeen and Raploch in Stirling should not be further impoverished by Tory incompetence, so this is a fantastic result for all involved.”

FitzPatrick – a former government minister – said he was “deeply grateful” to the Scottish Government for making the funding available “despite financial pressures not of its making”.

MSP Audrey Nicoll, who represents Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, added: “Big Noise Torry has been an important part of the local community for many years. This welcome news will ensure it delivers the positive impact intended for local children and families."