TWO Newport-based organisations won awards for their commitment to supporting the arts at the Arts & Business Cymru Awards.

Affordable housing provider Charter Housing and a senior manager of accountancy firm MHA Broomfield Alexander’s Newport office, Joanne Taylor, both received trophies at the annual ceremony, which took place at Wales Millennium Centre.

Charter Housing won the Arts, Business & the Community award for its partnership with Ffilm Cymru Wales.

To increase the economic activity and wellbeing of its tenants, they worked on a new entrant training programme, Foot in the Door.

The pioneering scheme enables people from socio-economically deprived areas to realise how easily their skills can be transferred to film, TV and the performing arts.

The partners worked closely to identify and select trainees, with Charter Housing supporting participants’ personal development as well as practical issues such as transport and childcare.

Trainees with skills such as carpentry, hairdressing and administration worked on the feature film Apostle, starring Michael Sheen.

The training programme has enabled Ffilm Cymru Wales to offer a further 20 placements on the S4C TV series, Craith, and plans are afoot to develop the scheme further.

Meanwhile, Ms Taylor, who specialises in the charity and not-for-profit sector, received the Grant Stephens Family Law Adviser Award for her work with Disability Arts Cymru.

Ms Taylor joined the charity’s board four years ago, through A&B Cymru’s Professional Development Programmes and has since become its treasurer.

She has led it through complex changes in its charitable status and provided invaluable input into its business and financial planning.

Other winners on the night included Abergavenny-born Philip Carne, MBE, who received the prestigious Robert Maskrey Award for Arts Philanthropy in recognition of his tireless support for emerging talent in Wales’ performing arts. The Carne Trust, founded by Mr Carne and his wife Christine, has provided a wealth of support to various Welsh arts organisations and talented students at music and drama academies, both during their study and after they graduate.

The awards were compered by broadcasters Nicola Heywood Thomas and Arfon Haines Davies, and an array of Welsh stars presented the winners with their specially-designed trophies, including actors Di Botcher, Suzanne Packer, Mark Lewis Jones, Richard Mylan, Will Thomas and Hannah Daniel; designer and presenter Anna Ryder Richardson; former Olympic athlete and presenter Colin Jackson CBE; and Grammy Award-winning soprano Rebecca Evans.

The event’s main sponsor was global energy company Valero and the categories, which recognise the best partnerships between businesses and arts organisations, were sponsored by a range of Welsh firms.

Rachel Jones, chief executive of A&B Cymru, said: “Tonight marks the 25th Anniversary of these awards and the quality of entries we receive never fail to excite and inspire us.

“A&B Cymru believes passionately in the arts’ unique capacity to unite communities and improve lives.

"We have witnessed the positive impact that partnerships between arts organisations and businesses can have, not only for each other but the communities in which they operate and the wider Welsh economy.

"It is an honour to celebrate so many excellent companies and arts organisations working together across Wales in innovative, and often humbling, ways.

“I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to the sponsors and partners for their continued support of our work and these awards. We simply couldn’t do it without your vision and commitment.”