Skip to content
A NoFit State Circus performer engages with a crowd of people at the Clifton Street Festival


Investing in Creative Collaborations

Funded by Hodge Foundation and Moondance Foundation, CultureStep is designed to encourage new sponsorship and develop established business engagement with the arts.

Through CultureStep, A&B Cymru invests cash in innovative partnerships of all kinds between the two sectors, enhancing projects and increasing their long-term effectiveness.

Image: NoFit State Circus – Mark Robson Photographer

Partnering the arts can enable businesses to meet core objectives in creative and far-reaching ways and CultureStep aims to maximise the impact for all involved.

It is designed to help companies communicate directly with their target markets, engage effectively with the communities in which they operate and access focussed, tangible staff development opportunities.

The scheme provides businesses with a direct incentive to partner the arts. Specifically, to:

  • demonstrate Return on Investment, maximising profile and enabling an increased level of activity.
  • reduce the “risk” of embarking on new partnerships with the reassurance of A&B Cymru’s approval.
  • ensure partnerships are monitored and evaluated to measure success against set objectives.

CultureStep investment must be used to strengthen and develop the relationship between the business and arts partners, through arts activity. 

All projects must also benefit individuals living in Wales and address at least one of the following priorities:

  • Arts & Diversity: working with the arts to promote and celebrate diversity and inclusion, engaging those who face barriers on the grounds of ethnicity, gender, physical abilities, race, religious or political beliefs and sexual orientation.
  • Arts & Employees: encouraging partnerships that integrate the arts into employee development and motivation, while stimulating a more creative working environment.
  • Arts & the Environment: encouraging partnerships that address the climate emergency, demonstrating a commitment to environmental best practice while having a positive impact on people and communities.
  • Arts & Health & Well-being: working with the arts to aid mental, emotional and / or physical well-being.
  • Arts & Kids: engaging socially disadvantaged and underrepresented young people with the arts, making a tangible difference to their lives.
  • Arts & Older People: engaging vulnerable, disadvantaged and isolated older people with the arts, making a positive difference to their lives.
  • Arts & Tackling Poverty: partnering the arts to improve the lives of people who do not have sufficient resources to provide an acceptable living standard which allows them to participate fully in society.
  • Arts & the Welsh Language: encouraging partnerships which celebrate and promote the language, maximising opportunities for people

Arts partners may apply for up to £1 from CultureStep for every £2 invested by the business partner.

If you have a potential project you would like to discuss, please contact A&B Cymru by filling in the contact form and someone will be in touch.

CultureStep decisions are taken by a panel chaired by A&B Cymru’s Chief Executive. Members have a diverse range of skills and expertise and a thorough understanding of relevant issues. They also have an in-depth knowledge of A&B Cymru and a commitment to its work and strategy.

The panel consists of 8 voting members. The group meets quarterly and operates on the principle of collective responsibility. All members have an equal voice. The panel are:

  • Rachel Jones, Chief Executive, A&B Cymru (Chair)
  • Kathy Brown, Former Assistant Vice President, Community Investment, Barclays plc
  • Robert Lloyd Griffiths, Business Consultant
  • Denise Lord, Freelance Fundraiser
  • Samantha Maskrey, Chair, Darkley Trust
  • Nigel Petrie, Director, Petrie and Company
  • Lynne Sheehy, Former CSR Manager, Legal & General
  • Richard Tynen, Director, The Funding Centre

Deadline:  9 May 2024
Meeting date: 23 May 2024

Deadline:  27 June 2024
Meeting date: 11 July 2024

Deadline:  26 September 2024
Meeting date: 10 October 2024

Deadline:  28 November 2024
Meeting date: 12 December 2024

Deadline:  6 March 2025
Meeting date: 20 March 2025

CultureStep News March 2024

This March, the CultureStep Panel met to deliberate the applications received for the final meeting of the 2023/24 financial year.

Four investments were confirmed, all of which will help to strengthen and sustain innovative partnerships between business and the arts. They are:

  • Act Now Creative Training & Grant Stephens Family Law.Through an A&B Cymru brokerage, the firm commissioned Act Now to design and deliver a bespoke arts-based training programme to develop the networking skills and confidence of ten of its employees. CultureStep is extending the partnership by funding a second day of one-to-one coaching for the participants.
  • Theatr na nÓg & Boskalis Westminster, Cardiff Harbour Authority, Port of Milford Haven & Mermaid Quay. New partners, Boskalis Westminster and Mermaid Quay, have joined Cardiff Harbour Authority and the Port of Milford Haven, in collaborating with Theatr na nÓg to raise awareness of the dangers of swimming and jumping into unmonitored water. The project will enable the return of the award-winning show Just Jump for a 6th year, engaging over 1,000 pupils from Cardiff schools at the Norwegian Church and 350 at the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven. CultureStep is increasing the reach of the project by contributing to the cast fees, enabling more performances and bilingual delivery.
  • Cardiff Animation Festival & Picl Animation; Cloth Cat Animation; Twt Productions; Bomper Studio; ScreenSkills; Bumpybox & Chapter Arts Centre. A range of business partners are supporting Cardiff Animation Festival to deliver its annual event from 25-28 April. An audience of over 10,000 will be able to access 100 short films, creative workshops and masterclasses, showcasing events and exhibitions. The festival will focus on the theme of Treat, exploring how food brings communities together. CultureStep is contributing to Industry Day Masterclass and panel speakers, a VR Experience, Arabic translation for events and Wellbeing Workshop materials & facilitation.
  • Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama & Unite Students. Unite Students has supported the College’s subsidised ticketing scheme for Cardiff students for six years. Both partners wish to increase the number of accessible performances available. To support this, CultureStep is funding British Sign Language (BSL) supported and captioned performances.

During 2023/24, CultureStep has invested over £91K in 33 partnerships, levering almost £342K from business directly to the arts.

The recipients confirmed at the previous Panels were:

  • Anthem & Bizspace
  • Arts Connection – Cyswllt Celf & Wind 2
  • Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias & Les Harpes Camac
  • Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias & Pendine Park Care Organisation
  • Cowbridge Music Festival & Richard H Powell & Partners & Tidy Translations
  • Engage Cymru & CGI
  • Engage Cymru & Wales & West Housing Association
  • Hijinx & Morgan Quarter & FOR Cardiff
  • Lighthouse Theatre & Cardiff Harbour Authority
  • Mack Events Presents & CJCH Solicitors & Barry Training Services & Forklift Specialist & Finnegans Inn & Gary Watson Motor Company & Ruckleys & RJR BAR Services & ISO Guy & The Rock Shop & Loaded Dice & Truffle Specialist Finance & Bro Radio & Sunkiss Tanning Salon
  • Making Sense & RWE Renewals UK Swindon Limited
  • Menter Caerdydd Tafwyl & Cardiff & Vale College
  • Mewn Cymeriad / In Character & National Library of Wales & Merched y Wawr
  • National Youth Arts Wales & WSP UK
  • NoFit State Circus & Cardiff Community Housing Association
  • NoFit State Circus & Celsa Steel UK
  • North Wales International Music Festival & Ty Architecture Cyf
  • OPRA Cymru & Magnox & Castell Howell Foods
  • Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre & Newport Transport
  • Role Plays for Training & Cartrefi Conwy
  • Rubicon Dance & Rubicon Facilities Management
  • Shelter Cymru & HSBC & IKEA
  • studioMADE Creative & RWE Renewals UK Swindon Limited
  • Tanio & Linc Cymru Housing Association.
  • The Denbigh Workshop & RWE Renewals UK Swindon Limited
  • The Other Room & Bad Wolf
  • The Successors of the Mandingue & University of Wales Trinity Saint David
  • Urdd Gobaith Cymru & Llaeth y Llan & Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Vision Arts & Valero

Arts partners may apply for up to £1 from CultureStep for every £2 invested by the business partner. 

The next deadline is 9 May 2024. If you are interested in making an application, please get in touch at

Contact Us

To get in touch please fill out the form below

    Find out more about CultureStep by reading our Case Studies

    Read our case studies