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The Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales have announced plans for a unique musical fund

The Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales  have today announced plans for a unique musical fund that will help open up new opportunities for children and young people.

Backed with a £1m investment from the Welsh Government, Anthem, Cronfa Gerdd Cymru/Music Fund Wales, is a pioneering endowment fund for music in Wales.

Set up by the Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales, Anthem is aimed at helping children and young people, from as young as three years old up to 25, access musical opportunities and develop their skills and talent.

This is an additional source of funding established for the long-term to enhance existing music funding in Wales. Celebrating the launch at Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, hosted by Connie Fisher, were the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams, and Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas.

The event also showcased Wales’s latest emerging talent, duo Into the Ark, Horizons / Gorwelion Launchpad awardees and 2017 finalists of The Voice, who are soon to tour the US with mentor Sir Tom Jones.

Cabinet Secretary for Education, 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 ground-breaking 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.”

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport Lord Elis-Thomas AM, added: “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.”

The fund, which values the nation’s rich musical heritage, while firmly focussing on nurturing future talent, emerged from the recommendations of a Welsh Government-commissioned independent Music Services Task and Finish Group.

Phil George, Chairman of the Arts Council of Wales, tasked by Government to deliver on Anthem’s ambition, welcomed today’s announcement, saying, ”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.”

The £1m investment from the Welsh Government 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 be developing detailed criteria for applications, carefully considering 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 need to be built up from a variety of sources – public, private and third sector – investing for the long term.

To turn up the volume on Anthem’s aims and to support its ambitious 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.

Anthem Ambassadors, together with its Board Members, will be seeking supporters and partners passionate about ensuring young people throughout Wales have access to opportunities to develop their musical skills and talent to support the ambitions of the fund.

For further details, see: www.anthem.wales