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Researchers demonstrate Big Noise project has potential for long-term benefit

18 May 2015

The Big Noise initiative launched in Govanhill in 2013

The Big Noise initiative launched in Govanhill in 2013

Researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) have undertaken an economic evaluation of charity Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise community intervention scheme, which indicates the project can deliver social economic benefits to Scotland over the long-term.

The charity was set up in the belief that children in deprived areas can gain huge social benefits by playing in a symphony orchestra, encouraging confidence, teamwork, pride and aspiration. One of Scotland’s most famous classical musicians and GCU honorary graduate, Nicola Benedetti, is the children’s official ‘Musical Big Sister’.

Big Noise launched in Govanhill in 2013. Sistema Scotland is at a pivotal stage of its development as the programme seeks to expand Big Noise delivery across Scotland.

GCU PhD student Linda Fenocchi, working with Senior Lecturer in Health Economics Dr Helen Mason, conducted an economic evaluation of the Sistema Scotland project using Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) methodology. The evaluation found that Big Noise Govanhill has the potential to quickly generate greater social benefits than the costs of delivery.

The results of the study have been included in a report published by Glasgow Centre for Population Health today (Monday, May 18). The report is being launched by the Chief Executive of Healthcare Improvement Scotland Angiolina Foster and Director of Glasgow Centre for Population Health Carol Tannahill. The report found evidence that Big Noise improves confidence in the children, supports participants to lead fuller and healthier lives, offers protection to the vulnerable, and encourages higher school attendance.

GCU’s economic analysis drew upon academic literature, financial and demographic data, and the Big Noise Logic Model developed by Glasgow Centre for Population Health. Wider societal impacts on education, criminal justice and employment were also considered.

Predicted flows of costs and benefits were monetised to present a net present value over the course of the next 70 years. This value increased significantly, with economic modelling showing a favourable translation in economic terms as early as year six of the Big Noise Govanhill programme.

Dr Mason said: “Linda’s analysis indicates that Big Noise Govanhill has the potential to deliver positive economic returns over time, for the children that are participating as well as their communities. It also demonstrates that it is possible to use Cost Benefit Analysis to evaluate complex interventions and that the results are informative, capturing the breadth of benefits that Big Noise hopes to deliver for individual children, their families and their communities.” 

Yunus Chair in Social Business and Health at GCU, Professor Cam Donaldson, added: “This valuable research will help to inform analysis of future Big Noise projects as well as other assets-based approaches aiming to enhance health and wellbeing.”