Principality Stadium visitors have helped generate in excess of five million pounds for communities in Wales, with Ospreys in the Community the recipient of the grant that broke through the landmark.
The announcement came today from the Charitable Trust (MSCT), which receives a levy on all tickets purchased for Principality Stadium events, since the venue opened in 1999.
MSCT has since supported 1040 individual projects covering sport, the arts, the community and the environment.
The five million milestone was revealed during a celebration event in the prestigious President’s Lounge at the home of Welsh rugby today.
‘Ospreys in the Community’ were announced as the official beneficiaries of the five millionth pound. They will receive £5000 to support the Ospreys Wheelchair Rugby Juniors and Youth Project, which will allow them to buy rugby specific wheelchairs.
Other MSCT beneficiaries celebrated at the event included ‘North Wales Superkids’, ‘Neath Afan Gymnastics’, ‘Valleys Kids’, 'Homemakers Community Recycling’ and ‘Ballet Cymru’.
Chairman Gareth Davies and Chief Executive Martyn Phillips were among those in attendance representing the Welsh Rugby Union, which owns and operates the stadium.
Mr Davies said: “The Trust funding ensures Principality Stadium visitors continue to make a positive impact for worthy communities from all walks of life right across Wales.
“Of the millions who have attended major events at the venue since it opened in 1999, the majority are rugby supporters, with some 550,000 flooding through the gates over a six week period when the venue hosted eight matches of Rugby World Cup, this time last year.
“Today’s milestone is a tribute to the ‘rugby family’, as well as all stadium visitors, and it is especially fitting to see our friends ‘Ospreys in the Community’ celebrating as the recipients of the landmark five millionth pound.”
Paul Whapham, Foundation Manager, Ospreys in the Community, was at the stadium today to receive the grant. He said:
“We are honoured to be the recipient of this landmark grant which will allow us to provide more opportunities for youngsters to try disability sport through our work with Ospreys Wheelchair Rugby.”
Principality Stadium holds up to 74,500 spectators and welcomes around 1.3 million visitors to Cardiff each year. Events deliver an approximate £130million annual boost to the local economy and help to sustain more than 2,500 jobs in Wales.
MSCT Chairman Russell Goodway paid tribute to the venue, visitors and volunteers across Wales who make MSCT grant-giving possible. He said:
“Principality Stadium is one of the most successful of the Millennium sports landmarks which is evidenced by the millions of supporters passing through its gates. This fundamentally enables the Trust to deliver its aim to provide financial support to diverse and inspiring projects throughout Wales.
“All of the organisations we support are either charities or not for profit groups who also depend on public support, in the form of the thousands of volunteers who give up their time to improve the health and wellbeing of communities. Likewise, the support of our wonderful Trustees is essential. I am proud and grateful to everyone involved to present the five millionth pound on behalf of MSCT today.”
WRU CEO Phillips commented: “The Principality Stadium is the jewel in Welsh rugby’s crown, providing the stage for the national squad and helping to develop grassroots rugby, with all profits generated reinvested back into the game. The Trust funding is a fantastic vehicle which allows the sale of tickets to extend beyond investment in rugby. Additionally, ticket purchasers help boost to the local economy due to the stadium’s unique city-centre location.
“The WRU attracts a wide variety of visitors from home and abroad and the current season is no exception. Wales kick off the four match Under Armour Series against Australia next month and host England and Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations in the new year, before the world’s biggest single sporting event, the Champions League Final 2017 comes to town, followed by two Coldplay concerts.”
For information on the Trust, which was set up in conjunction with the £46m received from the Millennium Commission (now the Big Lottery Fund) to assist with the development the venue, visit www.millenniumstadiumtrust.org.uk