Evaluation of Big Noise Douglas

Taking part in Big Noise Douglas helps children and young people be more confident and focused and helps them develop their self-esteem, emotional intelligence, and determination. 

Girl with viola 


A team of academics from the University of Dundee, led by Professor Divya Jindal-Snape, evaluated the first three years of the Big Noise programme in Douglas. They found that Big Noise has a very positive impact on children, families, and the local community, and recommend that the programme should continue as the children reach secondary school age.


Click to read the full evaluation report.

According to the research, children who took part in Big Noise Douglas benefitted from a range of improved educational and life skills, such as being better at listening, having greater levels of concentration and working well in a team. Taking part in Big Noise had also helped support their emotional wellbeing, with participants able to build more positive relationships with both adults and peers. Big Noise Douglas also provided children and young people with opportunities to express themselves and be creative in a fun and safe environment.


The study also found that Big Noise Douglas, which opened in 2017, has played a special role during the Covid-19 pandemic. Big Noise Douglas staff were creative, adaptable, and resilient and helped to ensure participation in Big Noise despite ongoing restrictions. Additionally, Big Noise Douglas helped to create community spirit and cohesion.


Girls with drumkit

Researchers at the University of Dundee collected data from the children and young people who take part in Big Noise Douglas. Parents, school professionals, and Big Noise Douglas staff also contributed. The researchers used data collection methods including observation, visual methods, interviews, focus groups and online questionnaires. The report focuses on the in-school (P1-3) and after-school (P3-6) Big Noise programme strands for children who attend Claypotts Castle and St Pius Primary Schools in the local community. The Baby Noise classes for infants and toddlers were also evaluated.

Benny Higgins, Chairman of Sistema Scotland, said:

“I am thrilled that this new independent research by the University of Dundee confirms the broad range of positive impacts that Big Noise Douglas has on children and young people. Taking part in Big Noise helps participants to develop the attributes required to grow into happy and healthy adults, such as confidence, social skills, and self-esteem. We are excited to build on this achievement and work closely with the local community and Dundee City Council to continue our work to help more children and young people to reach their potential.”

Paul Clancy, Executive Director of Children and Families Services at Dundee City Council, said:

“The research by the University of Dundee confirms that taking part in Big Noise Douglas helps the children and young people to develop skills that have a positive impact on their lives. The support that Big Noise Douglas has provided to local children during the pandemic has been very important for the community.”

Rachel Dallas, grandparent of Big Noise participants, said:

"My grandchildren love Big Noise. Taking part in Big Noise is amazing for them. It is not just about learning to play an instrument, it is about coming together. They get to see their friends, play games and have healthy snacks. Big Noise is so good for them - and its good for their mental health too." 


Professor Divya Jindal-Snape, University of Dundee, said:

“We used logic modelling to look at programme elements, outputs, current outcomes and future outcomes. Through this we were able to establish the positive impact of Big Noise Douglas over the last three years as well as its positive trajectory and potential impact for the future. It also highlighted areas that require further consideration. Our participants reported that the positive impact of Big Noise Douglas was due to children having the opportunity to learn music and express themselves in a fun and safe environment. The project gave children access to resources they don’t have at home as well as the chance to be part of a group. Children felt a positive impact as they were given nutritious food and built valuable relationships with the Big Noise Douglas staff. We would like to thank the children, parents, school professionals and Big Noise Douglas staff for their participation in the evaluation despite ongoing disruption due to Covid-19.”


Chris van der Kuyl, Chair of Optimistic Sound, said:

“I am delighted that this independent evaluation report by the University of Dundee has highlighted the important benefits of taking part in Big Noise Douglas. Since opening in 2017, Big Noise Douglas has gone from strength to strength, positively impacting young people and families in the local community. Optimistic Sound is delighted to have been instrumental in campaigning and fundraising to bring this work to Dundee. We are thrilled to have played our part in helping children and young people benefit from this meaningful work.” 


The Big Noise Douglas evaluation report was led by Professor Divya Jindal-Snape in the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Dundee. Her research team consisted of Dr Derya Asi, Dr Anna Robb, Dr Alexia Barrable, Professor Christopher Murray, Eilidh Ross and Hailey Austin. The new report builds on the work by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH). The GCPH found that there are seven main areas of a child’s life that can be positively affected by attending Big Noise. These are: educational, life skills, emotional, social, musical, physical and protection.

Sistema Scotland delivers Big Noise Douglas in partnership with Optimistic Sound and Dundee City Council, supported by Strategic Partner Gannochy Trust, the Scottish Government and a range of other trusts, foundations, and individuals, including players of People's Postcode Lottery.



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