National Lottery Surprise for Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias

National Lottery Surprise for Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias

Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias music centre in Caernarfon received a huge surprise when a National Lottery player revealed their application for funding had been successful.

The Music Centre was presented with a cheque for £7,000 as part of The National Lottery’s ‘Thank You Wales’ campaign. The campaign allows players to find out more about the projects that benefit when they buy a ticket.

Bernii Owen, 22 from Llanfairpwll, who has been a keen National Lottery player since she became eligible to play six years ago, spent a day with harpist Elinor Bennett finding out more about the organisation and how it supports people with a love of music, including those with learning disabilities and dementia.

Elinor explained how the funding will help the centre purchase new instruments, upgrade its facilities and improve its teaching provision to people of all ages from across the area.

Internationally renowned harpist Elinor Bennett co-founded Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias and still teaches there. She said:

“This National Lottery funding from the Arts Council of Wales will be hugely beneficial to our organisation.  Whether young or old, music can play a significant role in people’s lives, whether it helps them to express themselves creatively, communicate with others, develop a talent, form friendships, provide them with escapism or improve their mental well-being, it can provide a huge number of benefits.

“The funding will enable us to not only invest in more equipment but also hold more classes across north east Wales, where we now also have a branch and reach out to more communities, particularly Communities First areas.  It will also help us to develop the classes we currently offer to young children as well as enabling us to grow our Hidden Talent and music memories programmes - which are dedicated to helping provide people living with learning disabilities and dementia with a way of communicating with others.”

Bernii Owen, who works as a supervisor at Wal restaurant in Caernarfon said: “It’s great to discover more about a local organisation that is benefitting from National Lottery funds, and also to be part of such a big surprise.

“It’s not every day you get to hand over a cheque to an organisation knowing that the money is going to help make a difference to the lives of so many people.

“It was really exciting handing the envelope over to Elinor and waiting for her to absorb the content. She was so grateful and overwhelmed to receive the funding. There were so many smiles and hugs – it was overwhelming.

“When you buy a ticket you usually think about the money up for grabs, but I’ve never really thought too much about the fact that some of my ticket money goes to such deserving local organisations like Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias.

“It’s been a great experience to be involved in the campaign, and I’m sure the other National Lottery players have had an equally rewarding experience when visiting other projects across Wales. I’ll definitely be spreading the word about where the money goes from now on, especially after seeing the impact it has first-hand, and how many people benefit as a result.”

Jackie O’Sullivan, Director of National Lottery Good Causes, said:

“National Lottery players have raised a massive £1.6 billion to fund projects right across Wales. The ‘Thank you Wales’ campaign is thanking lottery players, without whom none of this would have been possible. We want to make National Lottery players aware of the thousands of fantastic projects across Wales that would never get off the ground if it weren’t for their money.”

Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias, established in 1999, is located at Galeri, Caernarfon. Individual musical training is offered from beginner to professional level. Currently, more than 350 students from 5 to 80+ years old attend individual lessons regularly provided by a team of 40 tutors at the Centre in Caernarfon and at its Denbigh branch.

The Centre also provides other music opportunities including the following:

  • 'Music Steps' for children 0-7 years of age
    • 'Hidden Talents' for children and adults with learning disabilities
    • Choir and chamber ensembles for youth
    • Adult Choir during the day
    • theory and composition classes
    • Concerts and various music festivals
    • Workshops and master classes by leading musicians
    • Sessions in homes for the elderly

    The grant will fund the replacement and improvement of the Centre’s stock of musical instruments and associated equipment (such as stools) as well as providing a laptop for video editing and other purposes.

Watch the video of Bernii surprising Elinor here –


Gwydion Davies
Gwydion Davies started working for Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias in 2014, and he now works in the centres located in Caernarfon, Denbigh and Ruthin. Gwydion studied his B.Mus and Masters degree in Music at Bangor University, where he worked closely with CGWM Caernarfon, basing his dissertation on the importance of music during childhood, and writing about the &lsquo...

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