Anthem. Cronfa Gerdd Cymru Music Fund Wales unveiled plans on 1 December for a brand new fund. Atsain will support music organisations and address barriers to music for young people in Wales.
Atsain will fund work for young people engaging in music who experience barriers through life circumstances, geographical issues, identity or background, and is backed by investment from Youth Music, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and Anthem’s resources with support from founding patrons.
Chief Executive of Anthem, Rhian Hutchings said: “Music is a passion for many young people. It's a form of expression, it helps them to change their mood, it helps them to relieve stress, it builds their self-esteem. And it can also be a career - the thing they want to do for the rest of their life. Young people find music in many ways - through school, through friends, at the local youth club, online. Being able to connect with music projects in their local area is a really important first step.”
Many young people in Wales are unable to access music experiences through no fault of their own - a generation without access to music or opportunity to develop if you happen to be in the wrong geographical area, live in an area of high social deprivation or rural isolation or encounter exclusion in whatever form. Anthem’s funding will allow organisations to create new programmes of work or create projects in specific contexts to address young people’s needs and the barriers they face.
Anthem held a fundraising event at Portland House which brought together leading influential figures from politics, education, music, talent and industry to hear the importance of the support needed now to ensure the legacy and musical journey for young people in Wales. In order to ensure the sustainability of the Atsain fund, Anthem is seeking support from new patrons to raise £500,000 so that youth music projects in Wales can be supported across the next three years.
CEO of Youth Music, Matt Griffiths said: “Music gives young people the power to transform their lives, especially those facing barriers because of who they are, where they’re from or what they’re going through. We’re excited to be the first investors in Anthem’s new Atsain fund contributing £150,000 so that more young people can make, learn and earn in music, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery. I look forward to our support stimulating other investors to jump on board with Anthem’s vital mission and do the same.”
Performing at the event and championing the fund were some of Wales’ leading inspirational music icons - Anthem Ambassadors, the internationally renowned Welsh harpist, Catrin Finch, and Welsh DJ and radio legend, Huw Stephens and Anthem Trustee, Swansea born pianist and Welsh A-List artist Ify Iwobi. There were also performances from up-and-coming young musicians who are members of the Anthem Youth Forum which came into being in 2020. Anthem Chair David Alston MBE said “I’d like to thank Youth Music for their commitment to seed funding the Atsain Fund here in Wales. The period of the pandemic has been particularly tough for young people and young musicians at whatever stage. We know Atsain will make a real difference to possibilities for young people in Wales. Music should be there for every young person, especially in Wales - a country so proud of its musical heritage. Anthem is here to make sure that happens.”
This is the first major project to be announced from Anthem, with more ambitious plans being developed, including a new digital gateway platform being launched in 2022 to help young people find their pathway to music.