A community engagement project with the Welsh National Opera has been launched.

The project, called Ely Bridge, is based in Ely and Caerau, and has secured the support of BAFTA award-winning actress Rakie Ayola.

This comes on the anniversary of the public unrest that occurred in the communities back in 2023.

The Welsh National Opera (WNO), in collaboration with Rakie Ayola, seeks to utilise the power of music and creativity to strengthen community bonds in the districts of Ely and Caerau in Cardiff.

Rakie Ayola, who hails from Ely, is set to act as an ambassador for the Ely Bridge project.

An important aspect of this project is that it falls in line with the wider work already being undertaken by the Welsh Government, as well as other groups like Action in Caerau and Ely.

Their collective aim is to enhance the life experiences of residents, especially since these areas fall within the top 10 per cent of the most deprived areas within Wales.

The Ely Bridge initiative from WNO promises to employ innovative methods to cut across communication barriers.

This would set the stage for unity in the community, irrespective of diverse backgrounds.

It is also intended to provide a shared platform where individuals within and outside the community can come together and create relevant artistic content that celebrates this community.

Ms Ayola said: "I’m delighted to be teaming up with Welsh National Opera, on this project which will give me the opportunity to give something back to the community I grew up in.

"I’m thrilled at the prospect of working alongside people of Ely and Caerau whilst engaging in creative activities that can bring real joy and positivity to an area which is often unfairly represented."

She added: "This is a chance to utilise the extraordinary talents of people of all ages, as we create a new body of work which will reflect the rich community spirit that is still alive and well in Ely and Caerau."

To kick start the project, Ely and Caerau primary schools will host WNO workshops geared towards engaging children aged 10-11 in music education.

This is crucial because it counters the current trend in many schools in Wales where arts subjects are being neglected due to financial crunches.

The selection of the 10-11 age bracket has been made considering it a challenging phase for children transitioning from primary to secondary education.

Such students tend to lose interest in education and school activities, leading to instances where they can get involved in illegal activities.

The schools involved in this preliminary phase of the project include St Francis Roman Catholic Primary School and Herbert Thompson Primary School.

The next step includes expanding this programme to Cardiff West Community High School and other secondary schools.

WNO producer Sandra Taylor said: "WNO is able to offer unique opportunities for children and young people to work with highly skilled professionals, who can inspire and help raise aspirations.

"At a time when the arts are being squeezed from the curriculum, this project offers opportunities for creativity, an important part of learning that helps develop curiosity, imagination, choice making and, ultimately, those all-important problem-solving skills needed for future careers."

The initiative will then proceed to the next level incorporating intergenerational activities, which aim to foster connections between children, parents, teachers, social workers, council members, first responders, and South Wales Police personnel.

For more information, one can visit the official WNO website.