CHILDREN in one of the most deprived communities in Scotland face missing out on a pioneering music scheme after the council proposed to cut its funding by almost half.

The Big Noise orchestra in Raploch, Stirling, has been praised for transforming children's lives for the better through its work.

But it is now facing "devastating" cuts to its funding from the local authority which organisers fear will force them to reduce the number of children taking part and impact on the quality of the programme.

In its draft budget, Stirling Council is proposing to reduce its funding by almost half: down from £500,000 a year to £275,000 over five years.

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Sistema Scotland, the charity which runs Big Noise, said it was a "cut too far" and would have a significant effect on the children.

A spokeswoman said: “While Sistema Scotland recognise that the public sector is under financial pressure this is a cut too far and could have a devastating effect on the children who participate in Big Noise and the local Raploch community.

“Stirling Council has identified Raploch as one of its priority areas for support yet this is not reflected in this budget proposal.

“The aim of Big Noise is to transform the lives of children living in disadvantaged areas through music and strengthen communities.

“This can only be achieved if Big Noise is adequately resourced.”

Big Noise works with around 2,500 children across Scotland after the Raploch orchestra paved the way for projects in Govanhill in Glasgow, Torry in Aberdeen and Douglas in Dundee.

In Raploch, it celebrates 10 years of operation this year. A previous economic evaluation of the project said it represented a "good investment for society".

The funding cut is out for consultation and the local authority's budget will be voted on by councillors on February 22.

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Sistema Scotland, which said it was "deeply concerned" by the proposal, said that research has consistently shown that the intensive musical tuition - based on the El Sistema model in Venezuela - equips the children with “resilience and confidence to reach their full potential across all areas of their life.”

The spokeswoman added: “Stirling Council’s recommendation to cut our budget will also affect our ability to leverage match funding."

“For the past five years Stirling council have provided 50 per cent of our funding up to £500,000 per annum with Sistema Scotland match funding this by raising up to £500,000 from other sources.”

A council spokesman said it would not comment on the funding proposals specifically.

However, in its consultation document, Councillor Scott Farmer, council leader, said: “Stirling, like all Scottish councils, is facing a challenging time due to increasing demand for our services, rising costs to deliver them and reductions in the funding we receive from government.

“That all means we are predicting a gap between how much money we bring in, and how much we need to spend in 2018/19.

“It is important to be clear that no decisions have been taken at this stage on anything.

“This consultation gives our communities the opportunity to consider the options to save money or generate new income.”

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Big Noise Raploch was established in 2008 and has almost 500 members, from babies through to S5.

Big Noise Govanhill followed in 2013, and has more than 1,000 members, with Torry being established in 2015 and Douglas last year.