I experience the disenfranchised victims of society on a daily basis at my work. No hope people and families stuck in bad housing, addiction, crime and poverty.
Sometimes sympathy can be reinforced by events, sometimes it is tested.
When one takes an objective view though one can’t help but conclude that society has trampled on the potential and worth of these people. If only they could be engaged in something that caught their imagination and interest?
A few years ago I heard about a plan being put forward by Richard Holloway, former Scottish Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh and a man who was brought up in the shadow of Ben Lomond. Holloway had also been chairman of the Scottish Arts Council and had heard about “El Sistema” a project in Venezuela which had helped children from deprived areas engage in music.
The pilot for a scheme here was to be the Raploch in Stirling. The Raploch is one of Scotland’s most notorious and deprived housing estates.
The cynical amongst us tried without success to imagine children from Raploch engaged in classical music and playing in an orchestra. To be honest I thought “Best of luck to him!”.
Well that cynicism is unfounded.
You can read about the extraordinary success of the project in this BBC report