Atsain Fund Round One Announcement

15 Local organisations receive £140k of grants to address barriers to music for young people in Wales.


Following the welcome Welsh Government announcement last month of extensive funding for access to music in schools, Anthem. Cronfa Gerdd Cymru Music Fund Wales has announced it will continue to support young people and music by awarding £140k worth of grants to 15 organisations across Wales to help address barriers to music for young people.

Atsain is a brand-new fund working 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 and Welsh Government.

Organisations were able to apply up to £10,000 to help them deliver specific music projects for young people in Wales that address a specific barrier to engagement.

It's fantastic to see such a wide range of youth music organisations across Wales being supported by the Atsain Fund. Without providing opportunities for young people to get involved in music in their local areas, we won't grow the next generation of musicians. There were over 40 applications for the fund, and that really shows the amount of activity that needs support across Wales.
Huw Stephens
Braodcaster and Anthem Ambassador
We’re thrilled to be investing in such a diverse range of grassroots music projects across Wales. Each one of these is bringing music making, learning and earning to young people facing barriers, in their own unique way – which is so inspiring to see.
Matt Griffiths
CEO Youth Music

Some of the 15 organisations being supported to address barriers for young people to accessing music are working Wales wide or across specific regional areas.

Disability Arts Cymru will be using the Atsain grant to launch The Pathways to Music project which will bring together young disabled and Deaf people across Wales to guide and develop six workshops for young people aged 16-30, giving them bespoke and accessible tools to start writing, playing and performing music. It will be the first disabled-led Wales-wide music scheme for young people wanting to make contemporary music.

Media Academy Cymru will be establishing monthly music masterclasses with the Atsain funding, which will be delivered across communities in South Wales supporting young people who experience barriers because of the criminal justice system; ethnicity, neuro-diversity and those who currently are Not Engaged in Education and Employment.

TRAC Cymru

Trac Cymru, will be supporting marginalised young people to articulate their own personal experiences using the folk traditions of expressive storytelling and collective knowledge.

Trac Cymru is the national development organisation for traditional music, supporting communities to engage with vibrant Welsh cultural heritage across generations. Our Atsain-funded project will help isolated and marginalised young people to explore and articulate their own personal experiences using the folk traditions of expressive storytelling and collective knowledge. We hope to make a positive impact on the participants’ quality of life, increase their sense of inclusion in the wider community, develop their creative skills and increase their cultural knowledge.
Simon Morris
Trac Cymru

As well as pan Wales projects, Atsain Fund is also supporting essential local youth music projects:

Sound Progression

In Cardiff, South Riverside Community Development Centre will be launching a multi-cultural, multi-generational project involving drumming, singing and instrumental workshops. The project seeks to represent and be representative of all the communities in the Riverside area.

Sound Progression will be launching a series of workshops called Next Level to improve progression routes for young people aged 10-25 years and from diverse and/or socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Since working with Sound Progression I have been spending a lot more time in the studio and less time in the streets. They have helped me progress forward with my music, given me good tips and really helped me find a professional sound to my music instead of recording in my bedroom. It’s given me new experiences and since I’ve been working with them, I feel like my life has really changed, so yeah, Sound Progression is a good thing.
A participant working with Sound Progression

In mid Wales, Theatr Brycheiniog will be setting up a producing group, to create a musical programme for the Theatre, developing a series of events and activities designed, curated and led by young people for young people.

CGWM Canfod Y Gan
CGWM Canfod Y Gan

In North-East Wales, Art and Soul Tribe will be launching their project, The Bridging the Gap which will support young people aged 13-18, with a particular focus on neurodiversity, depression & anxiety, economic deprivation and asylum seekers. Art And Soul Tribe will work with a cohort of young people to create and develop safe spaces and sessions to learn new skills, engage with and learn from professional musicians, and collaborate to co-produce a final performance event at a local music venue.

In North West Wales, Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias will be developing and expanding musical provision for disabled children and young people in Gwynedd and Denbighshire by running after-school music clubs and showcases in partnership with families and agencies, and music sessions in a new pre-school for disabled children.

We are delighted to receive Atsain funding which will enable us to develop our work with disabled children and young people in Gwynedd in partnership with Derwen (Integrated team for disabled children) and expand the provision to Denbighshire working in partnership with Denbighshire Leisure and STAND North Wales CIC. Our aim is to ensure that disabled children and young people have the same opportunities as non-disabled children and young people to participate in music outside school and we hope that through this scheme we will, in consultation with the participants and their families, be able to develop more opportunities for disabled children and young people and also identify and remove barriers they currently face.
Meinir Llwyd Roberts
Director, Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias

This is the first major fund to be announced by Anthem, with more ambitious plans being developed across 2022, including a new Digital Gateway which will help young people find their pathway to music.

Each organisation funded through Atsain will start their activity in the next few weeks and their programs of activity will run for between 6 and 18 months. The next round of the Atsain Fund will take place in Autumn 2022.

The range of organisations we are offering funding to in this round is impressive and it’s wonderful to know that these projects will be going ahead. But we know that even more organisations need funding to connect young people to music and expand horizons, build confidence, and support mental wellbeing. The roll out of the new National Plan for Music Education is exciting news, but it’s also vital that projects outside of school are supported, giving young music makers the opportunity to grow and explore their potential.
Rhian Hutchings
CEO, Anthem