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Fusion: Creating opportunities through culture

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Economy Secretary, Ken Skates has announced that over £200,000 worth of grants will be awarded to eight partnerships across Wales.
The Welsh Government will invest nearly £300,000 this year to create more opportunities for people to engage in culture and the arts and drive up volunteering  in the sector.
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.
© National Museum of Wales
We are encouraging people to take part in arts, culture and heritage.

Our Fusion programme makes it easier to take part in culture and heritage activities.

We are working in partnership with:

  • museums
  • archives
  • libraries
  • castles
  • theatres
  • housing associations
  • schools
  • volunteering agencies

We are demonstrating that culture and heritage can have a huge impact on people’s lives. The benefits can include:

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

The programme contributes to the Well-being of Future Generations Act, particularly:

  • a Wales of cohesive communities
  • a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language

Fusion in 2017-19

Building on the pilot phase, the Fusion programme has been strengthened and developed in 2017-19.

In February 2017, we launched a new Fusion Challenge grants programme. 8 lead bodies across Wales are delivering strategic cultural programmes that promote:

  • employability and skills, particularly through accredited skills and courses, VARTE (Volunteering as a Route to Employment) and training placements
  • cultural programmes that support confidence, empowerment and attainment, 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

The Fusion programme focuses on communities and individuals who face the greatest barriers to participation. The programme is being delivered in the following areas:

  • Gwynedd
  • Conwy
  • Torfaen and Caerphilly
  • Cardiff
  • Swansea
  • Neath Port Talbot
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Newport

Partnerships are delivering a wide range of activities and projects that support communities.

We support partnerships by providing:

  • networking and training sessions
  • advice on evaluation and fundraising
  • resources

We are working with a number of key cultural partners across Wales to deliver Fusion. These partners include Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, Cadw, Arts Council Wales, and Kids in Museums.

An overview of how the programme is being delivered and contact details for the Fusion co-ordinators can be found in the Delivery in 2018-19 document. For further information or to get involved in the programme, contact: cyfuno-fusion@cymru.gsi.gov.uk.

  • Infographic 2017-18

Background to Fusion

The recommendations in Baroness Andrews’ report Culture and Poverty have been progressed through Fusion: Creating Opportunities through Culture, established in 2015.

In the pilot phase, which ran until 2017, 10 coalitions of cultural and community bodies developed new cultural activities. Existing programmes were adapted to support the Communities First programme delivered in many of the most deprived areas across Wales. This enabled a wide range of cultural organisations to contribute to a shared anti-poverty agenda by developing new, exciting opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Activities included:

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

We have published an evaluation report that showed the Fusion programme made a real difference to people’s lives in its first pilot year in 2015-16. 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
  • where best to target funding and other support such as training

We have also published an evaluation report on the second year of the Fusion pilot phase in 2016-17. This focused on the impact of the programme for the cultural sector, and key findings include:

  • cultural organisations are targeting activities more effectively at people experiencing poverty
  • organisations are collaborating more effectively to deliver within disadvantaged communities
  • individuals experiencing poverty in their communities were accessing cultural activities more as a result of the Fusion programme 
  • Infographic 2015-17