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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
  • Lynne Sheehy, Former CSR Manager, Legal & General
  • Richard Tynen, Director, The Funding Centre

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 May 2024

This May, the CultureStep Panel met to deliberate the applications received for the first meeting of 2024/25.

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

  • Literature Wales & Bute Energy. In its first year of partnership, Bute Energy is sponsoring the Children’s and Young People Awards at the 2024 Wales Book of the Year. The business has also commissioned Literature Wales to deliver Imagine a Future / Dychmyga Dyfodol, a creative writing project to engage pupils at two Powys schools. The children will develop a poetry manifesto, expressing their hopes for a greener, fairer, thriving Wales. CultureStep is extending the partnership by funding the fees of a Welsh-speaking poet, thereby enabling a bilingual project and increasing the number of workshops and participants.
  • Welsh National Opera & National Landscapes Association & National Trust Cymru. National Landscapes Association, National Trust Cymru and a range of other partners are supporting WNO’s Wild Sounds of Wales. This is an immersive virtual reality installation tour of Wales, visiting community spaces, healthcare settings and festivals. CultureStep is strengthening the project by funding on-site recordings which will form the artistic foundation of the project. It is also contributing to the artists’ accommodation costs.
  • Hijinx & Grant Stephens Family Law. Through an A&B Cymru Brokerage, the law firm is embarking on its first arts sponsorship. It is supporting Hijinx to deliver the 2024 Unity Festival in Cardiff. CultureStep is strengthening the partnership by funding British Sign Language and Audio Description for all performances.
  • NoFit State Circus (NFS) & Cardiff Community Housing Association. This partnership, originally formed in 2022, continues to engage the local community, including the housing association’s tenants, in circus and other arts activities. CultureStep is increasing the reach of the partnership by funding additional workshops.
  • Menter Caerdydd & Bangor University. The university is continuing its established support of the annual Welsh language festival Tafwyl, by sponsoring Yn Cyflwyno, an engagement project which mentors and supports young musicians to form bands. This will culminate in the pupils performing at the festival. CultureStep is extending the partnership’s reach by funding two additional mentors, enabling the engagement of students from two additional schools.
  • Cardiff International Film Festival & Phoenix Business Solutions. In a partnership spanning eight yearsPhoenix supports the annual Cardiff International Film Festival and outreach events. CultureStep is funding filmmaking workshops for 15 young people from diverse and underprivileged areas. This will culminate in the creation of a film focused on diversity, which will be showcased at the festival.
  • Lighthouse Theatre & Cardiff Harbour Authority. Through an A&B Cymru brokerage, Cardiff Harbour Authority has commissioned Lighthouse Theatre to engage eight young people to design and deliver an immersive theatrical piece charting the history of Flat Holm Island. Eight performances of A Walk Through Time will take place in Cardiff Bay and Weston-Super-Mare. CultureStep is strengthening the partnership by funding three freelance creatives to guide the young cast through the development of the piece.
  • Eleri Jones & Llaeth y Llan. Through an A&B Cymru brokerage, Llaeth y Llan has commissioned artist Eleri Jones to deliver a series of workshops in two Powys schools, as well as student visits to the factory. This will culminate in an artwork inspired by Llaeth y Llan’s produce, history, Welsh roots and landscape which will be permanently displayed in the business’ boardroom. CultureStep is extending the partnership’s reach by funding two workshops to encourage intergenerational involvement from community members, local nursing home residents and those involved in the regional Young Farmers and Merched y Wawr.

In this first meeting, CultureStep has invested over £18K in these eight partnerships, levering almost £95K from business directly to the arts.

Arts partners may apply for up to £1 from CultureStep for every £2 invested by the business partner. Find out more CultureStep – Arts & Business Cymru (

The next deadline is 27 June 2024. If you are interested in making an application, please get in touch at

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    Find out more about CultureStep by reading our Case Studies

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