London 2012: Welsh arts fund major Olympics projects

More than £8m is being diverted from Welsh arts funding to pay towards events and projects as part of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The cash is being taken from the budget of the Arts Council of Wales (ACW).

An ACW official says the Olympics is costing it £2m a year over four years to 2012, adding "it's a fact of life we've had to live with".

Five major cultural projects are planned by the Welsh Government and ACW, with some already under way.

ACW head of finance and compliance Alyn Coleman explains that in February 2008 the UK government passed a "statutory instrument" that made a compulsory transfer from the National Lottery distribution fund to the Olympic Lottery distribution fund.

"What that meant for the ACW over the period of February 2009 to August 2012 a total of £8.016m will be transferred from our share to the Olympics," he said.


"Annually, that's £2.169m less income we've got to distribute.

"We've closed our capital programme. This is the fifth year we haven't had one but we hope to start it again next year."

The ACW and Welsh Government have been diverting some of its efforts to a £2.8m project called Power of the Flame with events due to start in earnest from next year.

That money comes from Legacy Trust UK - set up to create a legacy from the Games - which has a £40m budget provided largely from the Big Lottery Fund which helps fund the ACW.

One Power of the Flame project, called Following the Flame, has just moved to Holyhead after starting in Swansea last month.

It explores the "inspiring history of often forgotten" Welsh men and women who attended the games whether as competitors, officials, coaches, physiotherapists or spectators through their own words and images.

Another big project is called Mzansi Cymru (South Africa - Wales).

It is spearheaded by Valleys Kids, a community regeneration charity based in the Rhondda and links disadvantaged people and communities from the south Wales valleys and townships in Cape Town, South Africa.

It culminates in a large-scale performance as part of the Wales Cultural Olympiad with co-producers, the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, in July 2012.

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