11 July 2019back

Celebrating Creativity & Excellence in Partnership

Wales’ best creative partnerships recognised in a glittering ceremony

The Arts & Business (A&B) Cymru Awards 2019 took place on stage at Wales Millennium Centre on Thursday 11 July in front of over 400 guests. For over a quarter of a century, they have encouraged, acknowledged and celebrated exemplary and innovative partnerships between the private sector and the arts that benefit communities across the country. 

Global Energy Company Valero has been the principal sponsor of this flagship ceremony for a decade and marked the milestone by sponsoring a one-off prize. The Valero 10 Award recognised the arts organisation judged to have had the most impact in transforming the landscape of partnership working in Wales during the past ten years and was won by The Aloud Charity for its outstanding work. The charity has sustained its activity across Wales through a wide range of partnerships with the private sector, transforming young lives through singing.  

Stephen Thornton, Valero’s Public Affairs Manager said: “It is a great pleasure for Valero to sponsor  these Awards.  The Pembroke Refinery has been proud to work with A&B Cymru for the past decade and it’s fitting that we mark this with a special award which both celebrates collaboration between two sectors and recognises the astonishing contribution that A&B Cymru makes to the cultural health of Wales.” 

The crucial role that individuals play in supporting the arts across Wales was celebrated in two categories.  The Robert Maskrey Award for Arts Philanthropy, supported by the Welsh Government, recognises personal generosity to the arts and was presented to Babs Thomas OBE for her generous support of The Aloud Charity, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Wales Millennium Centre and Welsh National Opera.

The Adviser of the Year Award for the individual who has made the most impact on an arts organisation working through A&B Cymru’s Professional Development Programmes, was won by Hayley Hughes of Celtic HR for her invaluable work as a Trustee of Cardiff-based Touch Trust.

Western Power Distribution was named Admiral Business of the Year and also won the Arts, Business & Brand Identity category, sponsored by Hern & Crabtree. WPD sponsor an astonishing nine arts organisations to effectively raise the profile of its services to vulnerable members of society.

The Arts, Business & the Community category, sponsored by Wales & West Utilities, was won by Cardiff University for its sponsorship of the community Welsh language festival, Tafwyl.

The award for Arts, Business & Young People, sponsored by Hospital Innovations, went to the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys for its partnership with Aberystwyth based, Cwmni Theatr Arad Goch that created an interactive drama for secondary school pupils that highlighted the dangers of sexual exploitation in rural areas. This highly successful and innovative project also won the theatre company the prestigious Hodge Arts Award with a cash prize of £2,500 in recognition of the most effective way the arts organisation worked in partnership to maintain and develop its activities.

The Arts & Small Business category, sponsored by Western Power Distribution, went to Traveline Cymru for two contrasting arts partnerships with Wrexham’s FOCUS Wales festival and the inclusive theatre company, Hijinx.

Housing provider Cartrefi Conwy sponsored the Arts, Business & Health category which was won by Pendine Park for partnering Cwmni’r Frân Wen on its production of the play Wy, Chips a Nain.

Arts, Business & the Environment, sponsored by The Waterloo Foundation & University of Wales Trinity Saint David, was awarded to My Train Wales for a partnership with Breaking Barriers Community Arts that created an interactive children’s video game stressing safety messages and the environmental benefits of train travel.

The Arts, Business & Employees Award, sponsored by Pendine Arts and Community Trust, went to Hugh James for the solicitors’ work with Hijinx on a training film on workplace discrimination that starred learning disabled actors alongside staff.


In addition to the cash sponsors of the awards, A&B Cymru works with a range of event partners on its flagship ceremony, all of whom added to the success of the evening.  They are Entertainment Sponsor, University of South Wales and Media Partner Orchard Media & Events, as well as Cardiff Airport, Celtic Spirit Company, DesignDough, Flawsome Drinks, FlightLink Wales, Flower Lodge, Glamorgan Brewing Company, Intercity Removals, Llanllyr Source, Manumit Coffee Roasters, Mari Thomas Jewellery, Park Plaza Cardiff, Rogers Jones Auctioneers and Snowdon Craft Beer.

A&B Cymru CEO Rachel Jones said, “Once again our business partners demonstrate their belief in the importance and power of the arts and the range of nominations for this year’s Awards, was a true indication of how effective arts partnership are for businesses in Wales. A&B Cymru is proud to play a part in fostering so many innovative projects that help to create a richer society. In this flagship ceremony it is truly an honour to be able to celebrate the very best in cross sector collaboration.” 

The award winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges who have expertise in practical art forms, sponsorship and the aims of the private sector:  Karen Hodge, Trustee of the Hodge Foundation, Chair of the National Assembly for Wales Culture Committee, Bethan Sayed AM, Lynne Sheehy, CSR Manager at Legal & General, Huw Thomas, BBC Cymru Wales’ Arts Correspondent and Denise Hicks, Director of Human Resources, Valero.

The Adviser of the Year Award was judged by two key supporters of A&B Cymru’s Professional Development Programmes, Roy Jones who has recently retired from ScottishPower and one of A&B Cymru’s North Wales Ambassadors and the recipient of the award in 2018, Joanne Taylor from Baldwins.

The Award trophies, which were specially commissioned for the ceremony, were designed and made by ceramicist Daniel Boyle. They were presented to the winners by well-known celebrities including actors, Di Botcher, Aneirin Hughes, Mark Lewis Jones, Kai Owen, Charles Venn and Suzanne Packer, TV Presenter and Designer Anna Ryder Richardson and Grammy Award winning Soprano Rebecca Evans.

The evening’s spectacular entertainment was provided by members of Upside Down Circus who astonished the audience with their acrobatic and aerial skills.   





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