Our Amazing Volunteer Trustees

Tori Sillman interviews Anthem trustees

Hi! I’m Tori Sillman and I joined the Anthem team in June 2021 in the role of kickstart placement – project and marketing assistant. Enthusiastic and eternally grateful to be given the opportunity to meet and work with the youth forum and Anthem team, I joined a board members meeting and was introduced to the team of volunteer trustees who make sure the charity fulfills its mission. They meet every month and help Anthem in all kinds of ways. During the meeting I had the opportunity to ask a few of them some questions to find out how and why their passions have led them to Anthem. Here are all the answers you need.


David Alston M.B.E. - Anthem Chair

David was Arts Director at Arts Council of Wales from 2005 – 2019 and was one of our founder trustees.

Why did you join Anthem?

So, Anthem is strangely my brainchild. I was sat in a meeting going round in circles four years ago about resources for music in Wales and for young people, and not being able to see a breakthrough or a different angle of thinking. I made a pitch and said what we really need is an endowment for music and young people, and that’s how I got involved with Anthem by trying to give the idea some legs, but it has certainly motored on since then.

Why are you passionate about music and young people in Wales?

I’m still obsessed by the idea that there is so much talent, interest and energy out there among young people. It’s often frustrating because it doesn’t have the surrounding context to make it a possibility. But lots of people are creating stuff so if there was something which gave a little more momentum to what young people are doing, working across all sorts of communities to offer opportunities, it could really make a difference.  That’s my motivation; it’s still there and still strong. I know I’m the only non-musician on Anthem’s board, except Vicky. When Anthem forms a band, Vicky and I will be on the maracas. We concluded that that’s the only contribution we could make!

A fun fact about you and music.

This might mean something to some people, but I also happen to know by reading a profile of Sir Simon Rattle, the conductor of London Symphony Orchestra – as a 14 year old I was sat in the same Liverpool concert of William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast as he was, and judging what Rattle wrote on that concert, it made almost as big an impression on me as on Sir Simon Rattle. But obviously, his life history was slightly different as a result… but that’s a strange fact!

Catrin Roberts - Trustee

Catrin is a fluent welsh speaker originally from North Wales. Working for S4C, leading public affairs work and previously a member of the BBC Corporate affairs team in London, she has external affairs experience at devolved, Westminster and EU levels. Catrin is also a board member of the Creative Diversity Network of UK broadcasters and has always been passionate about music and the role it can play in wellbeing and development. 

Why did you join Anthem?

I got involved with Anthem because it can transform lives, teach skills, ensure well-being and give everyone a chance. I had so many opportunities to enjoy and see the benefits of music when I was little and I want everyone to be able to have the same chances – even though times are a bit harder now and music education and service have had to change so much. With Covid on top of this, and people feeling isolated, music has more of a role than ever to play in ensuring well-being and health and I hope I can play a small part in ensuring this somehow.

Why are you passionate about music and young people in Wales?

Again, I had so many opportunities – through school, through choirs, musicals, learning to play instruments and going to gigs. I’m never going to win prizes for my performing (I’m handy in a choir or ensemble) but I love listening and participating and appreciating people who are far more skilled than I am! 

Music played an important part of my childhood – my mum grew up on a small-holding in the country, but had an uncle who’d introduced her to concerts in Liverpool and she wanted us to have the same eye/ear/mind-opening experiences. My dad used to play us songs and sing with us too.  And my best friend who lived next door is an amazing musician and I loved hearing her practice. 

Now I have three young children, and I see first hand how music can affect them: I can play fast songs to hurry them up, slow, calming music to help them relax, funny songs to make them laugh and music to make them think and imagine whole new worlds. We put music on and dance all our cares away. I would be lost without music in my life.

A fun fact about you and music.

* I once met Michael Eavis through work and when he asked me if I’d had a ticket when I went to Glastonbury, I had to admit I’d crawled in through a tunnel under the fence… (he said he was glad and that he preferred it when it was without the fence!)

* I failed my grade two violin – I hated practicing and rebelled a bit…

* I used to play the harp and piano too

* I love a bit of Shirl – Hey Big Spender and Chess at karaoke (I am not good)

* My husband played Final Countdown on the organ just before we got married.

* I was at the first ever gig in the House of Commons (Biffy Clyro) with dancing MPs!

Ify Iwobi - Trustee

Ify is a Welsh A-List classical/contemporary pianist/composer from Swansea. Performing her music around Wales and internationally. Ify has won multiple awards including 2016: Black History Young Musician of the Year and 2020: BBC Radio Wales A List Artist.

Why did you join Anthem?

For me, I love the fact that Anthem is there to make a change in the lives of young people and it’s extremely important that young people in music are celebrated. It makes a difference to so many young people’s lives and many people are so passionate about it. So to create those opportunities, it would mean the world, and I, myself, am passionate about those opportunities for musicians to get to be where they want to be. 

Also,  just people knowing about the artists, where they want their career to go, and knowing how much it means to them is so important, so thank you Anthem for celebrating that. 

Why are you passionate about music and young people in Wales?

Well I’m a musician myself, a pianist/composer and, oh gosh, it’s the life. Honestly it really is. I can’t imagine doing anything else and it’s the life of so many people in Wales and beyond. It gives joy, it enriches their lives and gives a sense of purpose and happiness. There are many young people like myself that have this passion and it’s so important. 

There’s been challenges to break through and get where you want to be, but with the help of Anthem, we can break down those barriers and create opportunities. It’s fantastic and trying to step in the gap to get musicians to where they want to be. I’m a musician, music is life and it’s the passion for many.

Victoria Papworth - Trustee

Vicki has previously worked for the UK’s largest network of philanthropy-driven foundations,  advising donors, charities, social enterprises and Government around strategic funding. She now works as a Senior Philanthropy Specialist for Coutts Bank, providing support to clients and their families around their aspirations for giving and the causes they care about. 

Why are you passionate about music and young people in Wales?

I come from a slightly different background. I’m not from Wales and I’m not a musician. But music has always been a really big part of my life. Listening to music has always been a huge part of my life. If I look back at all those really big times of my life, there’s absolutely a soundtrack to them that is really intense and speaks to me as much as the visual memories.

If I think about my life right now, I know that the last year, how hard lockdown has been and how hard it’s been not to engage and to share many things with other people, my very best memories and my very best times have been in the evenings, with a glass of wine with my husband, where we’ve just flipped the shutters up and just made it a dance night!

Why did you join Anthem?

I’m kind of more of a policy geek I guess, than a musician. To my mind, the creative arts are so totally essential for the happiness of people, communities and the world. And it seems to me if we have restricted funding and access to these essential services, it’s not only unfair, it’s leading to a total failure of what we want our communities and societies to be. So I’m really passionate about bringing my skills and resources to help young people put their voice right at the very heart of that.