South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has praised the success of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Oasis Events Team after it secured lottery grant funding to deliver its ground-breaking drama production The Toon.

A total of £49,960 has been secured from the Young Start Lottery Fund by the team for the production of The Toon at the award winning Youth Beatz festival.

Once again the Toon performance will be designed and written by young people, and will look at the issues faced by them today including online safety, LGBTI, drugs and alcohol. The cast and technical crew will all be young people who will build their skills in areas such as stage management, sound and lighting engineering, boosting their confidence and employ ability.

The groups success has been celebrated by South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth with a motion in the Scottish Parliament.

Commenting on the successful funding bid Colin Smyth said, “This is great news and a really deserved recognition for the team. Their work is being praised across Scotland and they really are fantastic ambassadors for Dumfries and Galloway. They do a great job supporting their peers and this funding boost will ensure that the hard-hitting messages from the Toon production will reach more and more young people than ever before at this year’s Youth Beatz”

Chair of Nithsdale Area Committee which commissions Youth Beatz each year, Councillor Ronnie Nicholson, said, “Youth Beatz and The Toon are continuing to go from strength, in no small part because the whole experience is led by the young people themselves. It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago Nithsdale Area Committee was effectively the only funder of Youth Beatz as it began to develop and a small number of people were happy to try to knock it. Now I think they are very much eating their words as it is widely recognised as ground-breaking and a fantastic example to the rest of Scotland in how to engage and empower young people and get important educational messages across. It is little wonder that the Government and lottery are keen to support it and the Oasis Youth Team are to be congratulated for bringing yet more external funding into our area for events in the region”.


Young Start is a grants programme run by the Big Lottery Fund to distribute money from dormant accounts and aims to create opportunities for children and young people aged between 8 and 24 to help realise their potential. Details of the award can be found here:

The motion from Colin Smyth to the Scottish Parliament reads as follows:

Young Start Funding for Oasis Events Team

That Parliament congratulates the Oasis Events Team which is a part of the Oasis Youth Centre in Dumfries for receiving £49,960 from the Big Lottery’s Young Start Fund. Notes that the funding will be used to develop this year’s ‘The Toon’ drama production, an integral part of Youth Beatz which takes place for the 10th year in June. ‘The Toon’ builds on the successful productions of Wonderland and the World of Wonka in educating young people across Dumfries and Galloway in an interactive way about issues like suicide, sexual health, substance misuse and harassment. Further notes the opportunity that ‘The Toon’ provides in empowering young people, developing their talent and sharing their experiences to educate fellow young people. And look forward to another successful production this sum

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