Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Mining the valleys' hidden talent


A grants scheme which was launched recently to help talented people in the south Wales valleys make a mark on the arts and cultural scene has been inundated with applications.

The Coalfields Talent Nurture Fund was designed to offer the support needed to set applicants on the road to a career in the creative sector in Wales.

Set up by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) and the social investment society Citylife, the £100,000 fund has been established to help individuals and groups aged 16-plus overcome barriers to developing their talent in the film, TV and music industries.

Grants between £500 and £3,000 may be used towards purchasing equipment for apprenticeships, college textbooks, travel, IT needs, workshop space, tuition and promotion.

Larger awards of up to £10,000, or more in exceptional cases, can be made for match-funded projects.

Applicants must live in the former coalfield areas of Wales, and priority areas include the counties of Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Torfaen.

Citylife Chief Executive Officer Tim Jones says: "The fund's sole purpose is to liberate talent - to nurture even more of the creative, cultural and artistic heritage latent in the Welsh coalfields and which is the envy of the world."

Alun Taylor, CRT Regeneration Manager for Wales, points out that the fund is also available to help people working behind the scenes, not just performers.

"As well as household names, there are thousands supporting backstage - scriptwriters, composers, designers, musicians, make-up artists, costumiers, film sound and lighting technicians, choreographers, publicists, IT specialists and animators, and much more."

There is no upper age limit for applicants. Anyone interested in applying can view all the information on the website with the organisers promising a quick response to proposals they receive.

The organisations behind the scheme are delighted with the level of interest, but feel they could achieve more with further support from Welsh businesses.

A number of companies are already involved, having invested in the Citylife Welsh Coalfields Bond. The bond loans money to housing associations to finance housing schemes, and uses the interest to resource the Fund.

Now organisers are appealing for further investment to fund a part or full time fundraising post.

"Applications are flooding in and we would be able to make speedier progress if we were able to get a fundraiser sponsored to promote the notion of giving to charity and getting your money back", explains Sir Roger Jones, Chairman of the selection panel.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the post with the Coalfields Talent Nurture Fund, or investing in a bond, should call Tim Jones on 01223 488401.


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