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Fusion: Creating opportunities through culture

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Economy Cabinet Secretary, Ken Skates has announced £125,000 to expand a culture and heritage programme.
An innovative new programme using the arts, culture and heritage to support some of our most disadvantaged communities has seen over 1,500 people take part in activities during its pilot year.
The Pioneer Area programme seeks to supports local authorities and Communities First clusters to find new opportunities for people to enjoy and take part in cultural activities.
The Fusion: Tackling Poverty through Culture programme will bring together Communities First and cultural bodies for the first time to engage with and inspire young people and adults.
This document outlines the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure’s vision for Culture in Wales.
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© National Museum of Wales
We want to encourage and empower people to take an active part in the arts, culture and heritage.

Taking part in cultural activity can benefit many people through:

  • transforming their confidence and motivation
  • gaining the skills, experience and qualifications to help them find work
  • supporting learning for all ages
  • improving their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Our Fusion programme is working to break down barriers and to encourage everyone to take part and enjoy these benefits. The programme is contributing to many of the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, particularly: 

  • A Wales of cohesive communities and 
  • A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language.

Progress to date

We established the Pioneer Area Programme in 2015. Ten coalitions of cultural and community bodies developed new cultural activity and adapted existing programmes to support the Communities First programme delivered in many of the most deprived  areas across Wales. 

Activities included digital heritage programmes, schemes to encourage young people and their families to visit museums, volunteering and work experience, and projects using heritage to encourage healthier lifestyles.

We published an evaluation report of the Pioneer Area programme. It showed that the programme was making a difference to people’s lives. It also helped to show: 

  • what activity is most effective in supporting people in the most deprived communities in Wales,
  • what local and national support is needed to enable this, and 
  • where best to target funding and other support such as training.

Action in 2017-18

Building on this learning,  we are driving forward the Fusion Programme in 2017-18. Our priorities will be promoting:

  • employability and skills, particularly through accredited skills and courses, VARTE (Volunteering as a Route to Employment) and training placements, 
  • cultural programmes that support confidence and empowerment, particularly for young people
  • culture as a tool to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing
  • supporting the early years through literacy and family learning programmes.

We will be launching a new Fusion Challenge Grant programme to support these priorities.

For further information please contact: cyfuno-fusion@cymru.gsi.gov.uk.