CultureStep Investments 2018-19

 Arts & Diversity, Arts & Employees, Arts & Health & Wellbeing

 Act Now Creative Training & Valero

Valero has commissioned Act Now to develop a bespoke course that will engender diversity, confidence and effective communication in the business’ future leadership teams. Act Now will deliver a pilot for 10 male and female employees who have been identified as “leaders of the future” by Refinery Management.

The innovative arts-based training will take place at the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven, and include green screen filming, vlogging, interactive rehearsals and vocal and physical theatre exercises. CultureStep funding will enable a third session of the pilot.

The project addresses objectives related to staff and personal development, diversity in leadership and corporate partnerships. It builds on an earlier relationship between Valero and Act Now that saw the creation and delivery of a successful Key Communicator Course.  If successful, the Rising Leaders: Create Confidence course could be an annual feature of Valero’s talent management and succession planning processes.

 Hijinx & Legal & General Investment Management

Hijinx has been awarded CultureStep funding to deliver specialist communications training for staff at Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM). The grant will enable the creation, rehearsal and delivery of role-play scenarios that support the professional development of three learning disabled actors and 60 Investment Managers.

The project builds on a successful pilot day, funded by the business partner, which empowered LGIM’s Contact Centre staff to communicate well with vulnerable callers. Hijinx was praised for creating a ‘well structured, excellent atmosphere’ and for working with ‘brilliant’ actors who ‘mirrored [LGIM’s] clients very well.’

This additional investment enables LGIM to place its own employees at the centre of this ‘fantastic’ training, with a particular focus on those who experience mental health problems.

This is the first vulnerable employees training that Hijinx has developed with its learning disabled and neurodivergent actors. Together, Hijinx and LGIM aims to pioneer a new standard of inclusivity within HR practice, promote diversity and raise the profile of both partners. Workshops will take place during the summer and the learning will be shared with HR networks and the financial services sector.

The CultureStep Panel praised the innovative nature of this project, the expertise of the Arts Partner and the willingness of the Business Partner to support both the arts and its employees.


 Arts & Diversity, Arts & Health & Wellbeing, Arts & Kids, Arts & Older People

Cowbridge Music Festival (CMF) & IQE, Richard H. Powell & Partners, Town and Country Collective & Tidy Translations

In 2019, CMF will celebrate its 10th anniversary. This highly regarded festival has been awarded a CultureStep grant to develop its outreach programme, sending 12 musicians into five schools and six care homes. CMF will collaborate with Children’s Musical Adventures and students from RWCMD and other UK conservatoires on this inclusive project. The musicians will deliver high quality, inventive percussion workshops and classical and Welsh folk concerts for up to 1,400 children and older people.  The project will benefit groups from Barry, Bridgend, Cowbridge, RCT and the Vale of Glamorgan. It will also enable pupils from two schools to perform at the festival during a popular family concert.

The business partners, all established sponsors of CMF, have have demonstrated a commitment to community engagement and corporate social responsibility. The project will enhance brand profile and support artistic excellence, outreach and music education.


Arts & Diversity, Arts & Health & Wellbeing, Arts & Kids, Arts & Tackling Poverty

 The Aloud Charity & North Wales Businesses

The CultureStep Panel has ring-fenced a £10K investment to support an innovative fundraising idea from The Aloud Charity. The grant will lever an additional £20K from a variety of businesses in North Wales. The project stems from mentoring through A&B Cymru’s Prosper programme and responds to a need to secure new corporate partners as the charity’s sponsorship portfolio changes in 2019-20.

Aloud will deliver a cultivation event in Llandudno and present its CultureStep match-funding offer to guests. The investment will support the continued development and expansion of the four Only Boys Aloud (OBA) choirs in North Wales. Activities will include weekly rehearsals for up to 100 boys aged 11-19, performance opportunities and an extensive outreach programme in secondary schools.

Aloud makes a unique contribution to sustaining and reinvigorating the cultural traditions of Wales. Its work engages a significant number of young people, promotes self-belief, develops skills and aspirations, and creates a sense of community. Independent research has recorded a return of £13.27 of social value for every £1 of investment in the OBA programme.

The CultureStep Panel praised the ‘attractive, solid brand’, the high quality artistic provision and the social impact. It felt that local businesses would be keen to support the charity and, by extension, enhance the wellbeing of their communities.


Arts & Health & Wellbeing, Arts & Kids

 Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru & Grŵp Cynefin

Grŵp Cynefin is sponsoring the Eisteddfod Crown in 2019. CultureStep will add value to this initial partnership by funding Creu, a poetry and visual arts project for residents of the business’ social housing estate in Llanrwst. Artists Casia Wiliam and Eleri Jones will coordinate workshops for 15 young people over a six-week period. The sessions will culminate in the creation of a large 2D artwork themed on the Welsh language, culture and identity. The celebratory piece will be unveiled at the Business Partner’s stand at the Eisteddfod.

Following the event, the artwork will be on permanent display at the Y Perthi estate, encouraging community ownership of and engagement with the arts. The project promotes the Welsh language and creates a valuable legacy for the Eisteddfod. It also builds on the Business Partner’s established commitment to community development and support.

Arts & Health & Wellbeing, Arts & Older People

 National Dance Company Wales (NDCW) & Western Power Distribution (WPD)

WPD is supporting NDCW to develop and deliver its Dance for Parkinson’s programme. Following a successful pilot year, WPD has committed further investment to activities at two hubs in Dance House, Cardiff Bay, and the Blackwood Miner’s Institute.

Dance for Parkinson’s seeks to be a flagship Health and Wellbeing project that improves quality of life for elderly and vulnerable people. It also provides support and respite for carers, friends and family members. Involvement in the programme can be truly life changing for participants:  “I have seen people get out of their wheelchairs and walk the length of the room. This is the only form of Physio my wife will not miss. With all the others she says, ‘let’s not go’, but she won’t miss this for anything”.

NDCW has been awarded CultureStep funding to further develop its dance classes, which include live music and socialising. The grant will also enable visits to a performance and a film screening. Anticipated attendance figures exceed 700 across the two sites over the year.

The CultureStep project enables WPD to promote its Priority Services Register in two key areas. It also boosts artistic and personal development, brand identity and community engagement.


  Arts & Health & Wellbeing, Arts & Kids, Arts & Older People

 Amgueddfa Cymru & Western Power Distribution (WPD)

In 2018, Amgueddfa Cymru and WPD launched a new partnership to deliver intergenerational dementia work and promote the business’ Priority Services Register (PSR) in South Wales. Based at Big Pit National Coal Museum, the successful community project has included reminiscence activities and resources for school pupils and care home residents.

The programme will continue across Amgueddfa Cymru’s various sites, in collaboration with members of a recently established dementia engagement panel. CultureStep will fund an additional intergenerational workshop delivered by Patrick Jones, a prominent literary figure in Wales and an advocate of Poetry Therapy.

 Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru & Cartrefi Conwy

Cartrefi Conwy is sponsoring the Eisteddfod in Llanrwst in 2019. A CultureStep grant has been awarded to extend this partnership through Cadair Sgwrs. This intergenerational arts project will combat loneliness and rural isolation through discussions, artistic workshops and the creation of a portable reminiscence chair.

Two artists who specialise in storytelling and furniture making will deliver activities for up to 25 people from diverse backgrounds. Participants will be drawn from local schools and the business’ community projects and Independent Living Schemes. The chair will serve as a discussion point during the Eisteddfod and feature at Cartrefi Conwy’s Big Day Out and Older Persons Day, enabling further engagement with the arts.

The project seeks to challenge social isolation, boost health and wellbeing, increase access to the arts and promote the Welsh language. Both partners have been instrumental in driving this work forward.

 Arts & Health & Wellbeing, Arts & Kids, Arts & Tackling Poverty

 Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD) & Hern & Crabtree

A&B Cymru has brokered a partnership between RWCMD and Hern & Crabtree to raise the profile of this leading Estate Agent across North Cardiff. With invaluable support from the Business Partner, RWCMD will invite 80 children from two local schools to a workshop led by its Head of Brass. The sessions will also include students from the College’s brass and percussion courses. In addition to the high quality workshops, participants will receive a guided tour of the building, have lunch and attend a performance by students.

Hern & Crabtree is committed to supporting the education of young people in South Wales and being a socially conscious and responsible local business.

The CultureStep Panel was thrilled to see this first time investment from the business and was delighted to invest in the project in order to extend and strengthen this partnership. The grant will fund workshops at five schools in deprived areas within an hour’s drive of the College, engaging a further 300 young people.

‘On the Move with Hern & Crabtree’ will introduce children to high quality live music and inspire a love of music-making and concert-going. It will help RWCMD develop its outreach work and challenge socio-economic barriers to engagement.