Spirit of 2012 Music Challenge Fund winners

The Music Challenge Fund supports initiatives that bring disabled and non-disabled people together as equals through music to forge new social connections and improve their wellbeing

This year's award-winners are the Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias Music Centre (CGWM), Darts (Doncaster Community Arts), and My Pockets CIC. All three provide music activities that improve mental health and wellbeing, challenge attitudes towards disabled people and impairment, and reducing loneliness. All three Challenge Fund-winning projects will run for three years.

One project, run by Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (CGWM), is based in Wales and will deliver Canfod y Gân / Discover the Song – a pioneering project for people with learning disabilities to create music and socialise in a fun and supportive atmosphere.

The programme will offer regular music-making sessions in the coastal towns of Caernarfon, Pwllheli and Harlech in Gwynedd, as well as the chance for participants to perform live at venues in these communities and across Wales. Canfod y Gân / Discover the Song aims to increase wellbeing and tackle loneliness – breaking down the barriers that mean people with learning disabilities are more likely to experience mental health problems and more likely to have low wellbeing.

“We are delighted to receive this investment and look forward to working with the Gwynedd County Learning Disability Team to develop the opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to come together to make music across the county,” said Meinir Llwyd Roberts, Director, CGWM.

“Based on our belief that every person has a ‘song to sing’ and that every person deserves the opportunity to discover and share their song, Canfod y Gân / Discover the Song will focus on improving the mental health and wellbeing of participants and create pathways for continued participation in music.”

The other two projects are located in Yorkshire and Humberside. Darts (Doncaster Community Arts) and Doncaster Public Health will deliver Creative Directions, using folk music to connect local people to one another and to a shared love of sound.

Creative Directions will place professional folk musicians in the heart of Askern and Edlington, offering weekly opportunities to experiment with vocal and instrumentation techniques to those with and without lived experience of mental ill health/social isolation. They will devise new songs and compositions that celebrate and journey through the past, present and future of Doncaster’s rural communities.

“Darts and Doncaster Public Health are proud to have been chosen for one of Spirit’s three national Music Challenge Fund grants,” said CEO Duncan Robertshaw. “The support from Spirit of 2012 gives a tremendous boost to our mission to transform access to arts and health activity, and reduce loneliness and isolation. We can't wait to get started.”

Also in Yorkshire and Humberside is My Pockets CIC in Hull and East Riding who will deliver their song-writing project My Pockets Music to disadvantaged young people to support them in creating, recording and playing songs about their own lives and experiences.

The project will take the form of weekly workshops across a range of groups and locations, targeting young people suffering from mental health problems. They will be taught how to play instruments, compose and record songs, make videos and take part in live events, where they will perform their songs for each other and their communities.

“Everyone at My Pockets is thrilled to be awarded the Music Challenge Fund,” said Peter Snelling, Director My Pockets CIC. “We have seen first-hand the remarkable impact that making music has on the wellbeing of young people. The support of Spirit means we can develop, extend and better understand this work – prepare your ears!”

Spirit of 2012 is a funding charity, established by the Big Lottery Fund with a £47m endowment from the National Lottery. Spirit was founded to continue and recreate the spirit of pride, positivity and social connectedness that people experienced during the London 2012 Games.


To find out more, contact Catherine Riley, Head of Communications:

E: catherine.riley@spiritof2012.org.uk

T: 0203 7017444 

M: 07764 752731

W: www.spiritof2012.org.uk