£1 million fund for young musicians in Wales

14 February 2017

The Chair of the Arts Council of Wales says a £1 million investment from the Welsh Government in music will support the role it plays in Welsh life.

The Arts Council of Wales will be responsible for distributing the money, which will be used to fund additional musical activities to encourage young talent across Wales.

Phil George, Chair of the Arts Council Wales, says, “Music is important to the people of Wales.”

“When I go around Wales and meet people, and when politicians meet people on the door steps, people are always saying, ‘what are you going to do about music for young people? What are you going to do for opportunities for young people to develop in music?’

“This is aimed at that and it recognises that there is work to be done.”

Ministers say they hope the £1 million from the Welsh Government will attract more private investors to increase the National Endowment Fund.

The money will be given in addition to existing music service provisions for schools.

Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Music Service is now completely self funding, Head of Service, Emma Coulthard, says:

“I am hopeful that we are moving into a new era for Wales, but if we were in England we’d have a million just for Cardiff.”

Ms Coulthard is concerned the funding will only reach a small number of pupils.

“We have got children that maybe just want to play the ukulele or just want to play music to feel better about themselves.

“The trouble with arts councils and large organisations is they are all professionals in the profession, trying to design something for people who might not want to be in the profession.

“It’s like asking the royal ballet to run your PE department.”

Welsh Government

The fund is a joint initiative between Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education, and Ken Skates, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure.

In a statement, Kirsty Williams said:

“The National Endowment for Music will help ensure that all our young people, from whatever background, can develop their talents and skills through music.

“Having experiences outside the classroom is a sure way to help children build confidence and discover what inspires them. In time, this Endowment will provide extra chances for young people to access important education experiences.”

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