Scottish Government YMI funding amplifies youth music access to the tune of £1.5m

Published: 08 Jan 2024

The Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative (YMI) has provided over £1.5m of funding to 52 creative community projects engaging young people with music-making activities and opportunities across all of Scotland.

A group of young people in a band, wearing baseball hats and sunglasses, play together on mic, base guitar, electric guitar and drums

Image courtesy of Soundsystems Project

Designed to address inequality, the activity funded will enable children and young people to access high quality music making opportunities ranging from long-standing initiatives to brand-new projects.

YMI Manager at Creative Scotland, Morag Macdonald said: “The impact the YMI has on children and young people’s lives cannot be understated.  Not only is it providing high quality music opportunities focused on those who wouldn’t normally have the chance to participate, but the community spaces created develop social connection, technical skills, confidence and the ability to express themselves in new ways.”

The latest figures from 2021/22 demonstrate this impact – reaching 362,483 children and young people, training 5,631 people and creating 1,182 education posts.

Discover all the funded projects in this round.

A selection of the funded projects include:

Soundsystems Project, operating in Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute and Glasgow, received funding to continue their established, successful workshops helping young people with no musical experience to develop skills in DJing, MCing, music production, songwriting, branding and marketing.  Through hybrid working of in-person and online sessions and focusing on teamwork, the project builds on young people’s strengths, producing a collaborative live performance which enhances their creativity, collaboration, self-confidence, enthusiasm and skills for life.

Director of Soundystems Project, Anders Rigg said: “The support that the YMI has offered has allowed us to continue our work across Scotland from Dumfries and Galloway to Oban.  Working with the young people in these areas, we’ve been able to offer an insight into the alternative possibilities of a musical career within live music and soundsystem cultures of the UK.  Many of the young people have had little or no access to music making before and it is a total joy to see them take so well to it within our sessions!”

Supported by YMI for the first time, Keep The Beat from Cosgrove Care is a weekly music group for 30 children and young people who have learning disabilities, autism and additional needs in Glasgow. Mango Music will lead the sessions which will focus on supporting children and young people to develop their music-making skills.

A young girl in a wheelchair wearing glasses and a bright pink kerchief on her neck and a black cowboy hat. She has a big smile on her face.

Image courtesy of Cosgrove Care

Chief Executive of Cosgrove Care, Heather Gray said: “We're delighted to have received this funding to build the music-making skills of young people with learning disabilities and autism.  We’re excited to be working with Mango Music to develop Keep the Beat and look forward to the performance they will create for us, showcasing the talent and potential of the children and promoting equality and inclusion whilst tackling the stigma that exists for this group of young people.”

Radio Buena Vida operate an inclusive and accessible community-focused radio station and safe-space café in Govanhill.  Building on the success and demand of their previous Access to Music-Making funded workshops, Radio Buena Vida are establishing a brand-new series of workshops delivered by prominent music-makers in Scotland.  Reaching more people than ever, the new workshops will cover a wide range of music-based skills including DJing, music-making, music radio production and live radio broadcasting, developed specifically for young people often excluded from arts practices, culminating in the creation of an actual radio show.

Jonny Fernandes (aka Wheelman) with some of the participants of Radio Buena Vida

Image courtesy of Radio Buena Vida

Co-Director and Co-Founder of Radio Buena Vida, Suz O’Neill said: The funding from YMI has been a real game changer for us at Radio Buena Vida. Some of the participants have already gone on to host their own radio show live on Radio Buena Vida since completing the workshops and one of the participants has just been booked for their first paid professional gig which is fantastic!  With the 2024 YMI funding we’ve been able to upgrade some of our equipment, add an additional workspace station for increased accessibility and hands-on practise time and invest in more advanced music-making software.”

Applications for the 2024 workshops will open in January 2024 on their website and social media.

Minister for Culture, Christina McKelvie said: “We’re pleased to see the investment in the Youth Music Initiative (YMI) continuing to make a positive difference to young people’s lives across Scotland.

“Every year, the YMI provides hundreds of thousands of young people with music-making opportunities, and I’ve seen first-hand how impactful the projects are.

“This continued investment highlights our ongoing commitment to ensure children and young people have the opportunity to participate in cultural activities.”


The Youth Music Initiative (YMI) fund guidance and application forms can be found on the Creative Scotland website.

The Access to Music-Making Fund is all about creating access to music-making opportunities outwith school time for organisations and individuals, applicants can apply for funding between £1k - £30k for projects lasting up to 12 months.

The Strengthening Youth Music Fund provides grants of between £1k - £20k for projects lasting up to 12 months which aim to improve Scotland’s youth music infrastructure and services.

Access to Music Making and Strengthening Youth Music recipients 2023/24



Funding AmountLocal Authority
A.R.Ts AfternoonAccess to Music Making£30,000City of Edinburgh, East Lothian
Alchemy Film and ArtsAccess to Music Making£30,000Scottish Borders
ARTSPLAY HIGHLANDAccess to Music Making£30,000Highland
Beatroute Arts Access to Music Making £29,348 Glasgow City
Bigton Collective Access to Music Making£14,934Shetland Islands
Canongate YouthAccess to Music Making£29,949City of Edinburgh
Catriona HawksworthAccess to Music Making£14,626Perth and Kinross
CENTRESTAGE COMMUNITIES LTDAccess to Music Making£14,980East Ayrshire
City of Edinburgh CouncilAccess to Music Making£29,913City of Edinburgh
Cosgrove CareAccess to Music Making£14,982East Renfrewshire
David BoyterAccess to Music Making£12,478Shetland Islands
DRAKE MUSIC SCOTLANDAccess to Music Making£68,165Aberdeen City, Dundee City,
City of Edinburgh, Inverclyde
Duncan MacKinnon music and
arts trust ltd
Access to Music Making£24,226Scottish Borders
ELUTHERIA COMPANY LtdAccess to Music Making£4,985North Lanarkshire
Fèis RoisAccess to Music Making£69,673Highland
Glenkens Community and Arts TrustAccess to Music Making£29,996Dumfries and Galloway
HAPPYNESS DRUM CIRCLES LTDAccess to Music Making£14,935Highland, Moray
Hear My MusicAccess to Music Making£30,000Glasgow City and City of Edinburgh
Horsecross ArtsAccess to Music Making£29,914Perth and Kinross
Irvine and Dreghorn BrassAccess to Music Making£3,988North Ayrshire
Jenny SturgeonAccess to Music Making£12,668Aberdeenshire
KIBBLE EDUCATION AND CARE CENTREAccess to Music Making£14,662Renfrewshire, West Dumbartonshire
Limelight MusicAccess to Music Making£29,400Clackmannanshire, Glasgow
and Renfrewshire
LYRAAccess to Music Making£15,000City of Edinburgh
Mobilize Music ProjectAccess to Music Making£23,484South Lanarkshire
Music BrothAccess to Music Making£30,000Argyll and Bute, Glasgow City
and Highland
Music Education Partnership GroupAccess to Music Making£28,619All of Scotland
musicALLAccess to Music Making£25,000Glasgow City
RADIO BUENA VIDA CICAccess to Music Making£28,200Glasgow City
Rebecca HillAccess to Music Making£18,500Argyll and Bute
RIG ARTS LTDAccess to Music Making£30,000Inverclyde
Rioch and RobertsonAccess to Music Making£8,146West Lothian
Rock n Role ModelsAccess to Music Making£14,890East Ayrshire
s9FiftyAccess to Music Making£29,751Fife
SCOTTISH BOOK TRUSTAccess to Music Making£65,530All of Scotland
Scottish Music CentreAccess to Music Making£30,000All of Scotland
Shetland Islands Council - Youth and
Employability Service
Access to Music Making£21,647Shetland Islands
Sonic BothyAccess to Music Making£29,976Glasgow City
Sound Waves SCIOAccess to Music Making£29,800Argyll and Bute
SOUNDSYSTEMS PROJECT C.I.C.Access to Music Making£29,500Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute,
North Ayrshire, Glasgow City
Stanley Development TrustAccess to Music Making£28,521Perth and Kinross
THE NATIONAL PIPING CENTREAccess to Music Making£29,998All of Scotland
THE NATIONAL PIPING CENTREAccess to Music Making£70,000Glasgow City, Highland, Perth and Kinross,
Dundee City, Na h-Eilaenan Siar,
The National Youth Choir of ScotlandAccess to Music Making£59,927East Ayrshire, Moray, Highland
Access to Music Making£30,000All of Scotland
The Scottish Brass Band AssociationAccess to Music Making£70,000All of Scotland
The Scottish Schools Pipes
and Drums Trust
Strengthening Youth
Tinderbox CollectiveAccess to Music Making£70,000City of Edinburgh
Tynecastle Youth Community Pipe BandAccess to Music Making£13,000City of Edinburgh
WHERE'S THE ONE? LTD.Access to Music Making£27,995Scottish Borders
Wide Events CICAccess to Music Making£30,000All of Scotland
Yvonne WyroslawskaStrengthening Youth
£17,600All of Scotland
TOTAL £1,508,906 

YMI has two distinct strands:

  • School-based music-making: activities planned and delivered by Local Authorities. Local Authorities apply to the YMI Formula Fund for this activity
  • The informal sector: activities planned and delivered outwith school time. There are two informal sector funding routes: Access to Music-Making and Strengthening Youth Music. Organisations and individuals can apply to these funding routes.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at

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