The Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales have announced plans for a pioneering endowment fund for music in Wales.
Backed with a £1m investment from the Welsh Government to enhance existing music funding in Wales, Anthem – Music Fund Wales is aimed at helping children and young people access musical opportunities and develop their skills and talent.
Celebrating the launch at Motorpoint Arena Cardiff on 13 February 2018 were singer and TV presenter, Connie Fisher, Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams, and Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas. The event also showcased Horizons/Gorwelion Launchpad awardees and finalists of The Voice 2017, Into the Ark.
The fund, which values Wales’ rich musical heritage while focussing on nurturing future talent, emerged from the recommendations of a Welsh Government-commissioned independent Music Services Task and Finish Group. The £1m investment is the first stage of establishing the capital of the fund which is set to grow over the next two to three years – with a target annual pattern of grant-giving of up to £300,000 per annum scheduled from 2021 onwards.
The Anthem Board will develop detailed criteria for applications and consider how the funding can be used to develop opportunities for young people across Wales. To ensure availability of funding for future generations, the Anthem fund will be built up from a variety of sources – public, private and third sector – investing for the long term.
To promote Anthem’s aims and to support its fundraising effort, high-profile ambassadors are being sought, representing all musical genres. Anthem Ambassadors will be supporters of the long-term goals of the fund to make a difference for musical talent and will act as figureheads for its campaigns.
Kirsty Williams said:
‘I want all our young people, whatever their background or ability, to enjoy music and to be able to develop their talents and skills. Anthem – Music Fund Wales, established with £1 million from the Welsh Government, is a groundbreaking initiative that will not only increase access to musical experiences but also enhance existing music services. This will build on the music education already delivered by schools as part of the new curriculum and will allow learners access to new and exciting opportunities outside of school.’
Lord Elis-Thomas AM said:
‘I am proud of the way the Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales have worked together in order to make Anthem a reality but in order to build the fund, we will need to work in partnership with the music industry across the UK. That’s why I am today calling on all artists and businesses across Wales to be part of the fund and make sure that others can discover and share in the joy of music.’
Phil George, Chairman of Arts Council of Wales, tasked by Government to deliver on Anthem’s ambition, said:
‘There’s no doubt that the citizens of Wales want to see our young people enriching their lives through musical expression. We must all hope that private and corporate donors will seize this new opportunity to join the Welsh Government in nurturing young musical talents and helping them delight and amaze us all.’