After sharing her own love of music in the Scottish Parliament chamber, Highlands & Islands MSP Emma Roddick has received a commitment from the Minister for Culture to ensure children from all backgrounds across Scotland have the opportunity to get involved in theatre and music.
Ms Roddick pressed the Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, Neil Gray, to explain how he is supporting young people from less affluent backgrounds to be exposed to the arts.
Mr Gray noted funding allocated to schools in low income areas which can be used to access Theatre in Schools Scotland Programmes and explained that funding programmes such as the Youth Music Initiative target groups of young people who might otherwise miss out on musical opportunities, and acknowledged a need to always “do more” to expand access to the arts for children in lower-income households.
Ms Roddick said:
“Since picking up the fiddle in primary school, I have always leaned on playing and writing music as an escape and a form of self-care, and I know taking part in groups like the Highland Regional Youth Orchestra creates memories for young people that will last them a lifetime.
“Exposure to the performing arts is also incredibly important in widening the skills of our young folk and opening doors to career paths they may wish to take later in life. It is vital that we ensure no child is left behind.
“It is reassuring to see the Scottish Government recognise this importance and targeting its efforts to areas where young talent may slip through the net.
“The Highlands and our islands are notorious for producing huge musical and theatrical talent. I want to see that continue to grow and for all young folk across my region to have the opportunity to get involved, no matter their background.”