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Epic Awards – Voluntary Arts’ annual celebration of participatory excellence

Epic Awards logo smallThe Epic Awards celebrate the achievement of voluntary arts groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland, by recognising the skill, innovation and hard work that goes into their activities.

This year’s Awards were held at Cardiff Castle on Saturday 2 April 2016.

The voluntary cultural sector is huge, incorporating drama groups, choirs, knitting circles, orchestras, dance troupes, quilters, embroiderers, community arts and much, much more.

Over 60,000 voluntary arts groups operate across the UK and Republic of Ireland, and their contribution to lives in their local community cannot be underestimated.

The Epic Awards are here to shine a spotlight on their work, and to inspire others to get involved.

Epic Awards 2016 Welsh winners: Pimp My Uke, Strike a Chord and Black History Month Wales at Cardiff Castle

Epic Awards 2016 Welsh winners at Cardiff Castle

The 2016 England Award winners were GO! (Great Opportunities) Together who have formed a choir and orchestra to help fund the work of their 300-strong team of volunteers working to restore the Palace Theatre in Plymouth.

The Ireland winners for 2016 were Hermit Collective who formed to offer a social and creative outlet for people living in five rural counties in the north-west of Ireland through regular events featuring a range of arts performances, exhibitions and discussions.

Scotland’s winners this year were the team behind the alter:nativity play, bringing together communities in Aberdeenshire to perform an outdoor nativity play that reflected on the current refugee crisis in Europe.

The Wales award for 2016 went to Pimp My Uke, a project initiated by Age UK and Men’s Sheds Cymru to encourage older men, many suffering from ill health or isolation, to make their own ukuleles, learn to play and perform together at a major event.

Awards were also given to Strike a Chord as People’s Choice Award winners, Guthan an Iar for the Peer Award for Excellence and special awards for Exceptional Work with Young People and People with Disabilities to Movema for Unlock the Box and The Spectrum Centre for The Social Sofa respectively.

The winners’ reception was held in the Banqueting Hall of Cardiff Castle, with the event hosted by Nicola Heywood Thomas of BBC Radio Wales and awards presented by Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive of Arts Council Wales and Hamish Fyfe, Professor of the Arts and Society at the University of South Wales.

To see more photos, read case studies about each of our 2016 winners (and runners-up!) and find out about next year’s Awards, visit the Epic Awards website.

This post is also available in: Welsh

Voluntary Arts is the operating name of The Voluntary Arts Network (VAN) which is registered in Scotland as Company No. 139147 and Charity No. SC020345. Registered Office: The Creative Exchange, 29 Constitution Street, Edinburgh EH6 7BS.