FINANCE and Local Government Minister Rebecca Evans has visited a workshop in Merthyr to see carbon neutral plastic trombones being assembled for Wales’s 7yr olds

The Merthyr Institute for the Blind (MTIB) workshop in Pentrebach is part of a consortium employing disabled and disadvantaged workers to assemble instruments for primary school pupils as part of the new national music service.

The PMusic Cymru consortium, which consists of MTIB, Elite Solutions and Warwick Music, secured the £500k contract as part of a new purchasing system put in place by the Welsh Government in partnership with the Welsh Local Government Association. The consortium’s successful bid came under a reserved category –limited to sheltered workshops where at least 30% of the employees are disabled or disadvantaged workers.

PMusic will assemble 35,000 carbon neutral pBuzz instruments (plastic trombones) and 18,000 pCorders (plastic recorders) ready to deliver to schools in September. All pupils in Year 3 will have the opportunity to try these entry level brass and woodwind instruments as part of the ‘whole class tuition’ element of the recently launched National Music Plan for Music Education in Wales.

Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said:

“It is wonderful to be able to see these fantastic instruments being assembled and packaged here in Merthyr, and I am delighted that both MTIB and Elite Solutions have been able to secure and create many new and existing Welsh jobs through PMusic’s successful bid.

This contract demonstrates how we can use funding to add social value and promote sustainability. At the same time, we have ensured these instruments will be produced on a national scale and in a way that represents value for money.”

Steven Greenall, Chief Executive of Warwick Music Group, lead partner in the PMusic Cymru consortium added:

“The Welsh Government has made possible a world-beating project that will see tens of thousands of children in Wales having access to award-winning and carbon-neutral musical instruments for the very first time, assembled in Merthyr Tydfil.

We have enjoyed working with our partners the Merthyr Tydfil Institute for the Blind and Elite, seeing a positive cycle of investment that benefits Welsh children, Welsh schools, the Welsh economy and employment for blind, disabled and disadvantaged people. Research studies demonstrate that outcomes for children will improve substantially when they have access to high quality creative subjects. This project is a blueprint that the music education world is watching with keen interest.”

Chris Llewelyn, WLGA Chief Executive said:

“We are proud to work with the Welsh Government on this national strategy to procure and assemble instruments in Wales by investing in excellent quality and sustainable instruments made in Merthyr Tydfil. The instruments will be delivered to children in primary schools across Wales to help support the aims of the new National Music Service. These instruments will enable young learners to experience the joy of music through playing their first musical instruments.

We would like to thank the entire PMusic Cymru consortium who have created these fantastic instruments for pupils across Wales while also ensuring that many jobs were supported and created in the process.”

By Gwynoro Jones

Former MP for Carmarthenshire, Gwynoro Jones joined the team covering politics in Wales. He has a wealth of experience in politics and has been a regular commentator on radio, TV and in newspapers in Wales. Email: gwynorojones@walesnewsonline.com

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