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PCC sees how Musical Mates is fighting hate


18 November 2022

A local community project in Flintshire is bringing the community together through music to help end isolation and to challenge Hate Crime

Rainbow Biz

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for North Wales, Andy Dunbobbin, visited the RainbowBiz Hippy Shop in Mold on 17 November to see how funding from his Innovate to Grow initiative is helping to support a project to assist local residents who are suffering from isolation, have experienced Hate Crime, or are struggling with their mental health.

The project, which is called Musical Mates, has been created by the team behind RainbowBiz C.I.C and The RainbowBiz Hippy Shop out of the different needs of the people the organisation supports. During the pandemic, many of the people supported by the organisation struggled due to many of them being already isolated prior to the pandemic, and because they are often more at risk of mental health and abuse. This could be through identifying as members of minority groups within the community, such as being LGBT+, of a different ability, or being from a minority ethnic group.

The aim of Musical Mates is to challenge Hate Crime in Flintshire through bringing together people from a variety of backgrounds and identities, all with mixed abilities both mentally and physically. The group is offering a safe space for individuals to learn about each other with a focus on music, creating and therapy. There are a variety of musical instruments that people can choose to play either as part of a group or on their own if they struggle with anxiety around other people. The funding from the PCC’s Innovate to Grow fund has helped pay for the musical instruments used in the project.

While at the shop, the PCC met Sarah Way and Ian Forrester, Directors from RainbowBiz CIC and spoke to participants in the project and heard how music is helping them connect with their peers and their local community. PCSOs Victoria Davies and Lucy Davies were also there from North Wales Police to join in the music-making.

Andy Dunbobbin, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales commented: “It was humbling to see how local organisations like RainbowBiz are helping and supporting their local communities, and I would like to congratulate them on their success in obtaining funding through the Innovate to Grow initiative.

“I am determined to help support exciting, innovative and rewarding projects to help tackle crime and exclusion across the region. To do this, we need to invest in the community-level projects that are thinking and acting in new and novel ways to stop crime where it starts. Rainbow Biz put forward a strong and ambitious proposal around how they wish to make a difference and strengthen the community they work in.

“My Police and Crime Plan commits to delivering safer neighbourhoods in North Wales, to supporting victims and communities, and to ensuring a fair and effective criminal justice system for all. I’d encourage any organisation that thinks they fit the criteria of Innovate to Grow to get in touch and apply, so that they can act with us to build on their good work and deliver the safer and more secure neighbourhoods we all wish to see.”

Founder and Director of RainbowBiz CIC Sarah Way said: "This much needed funding has enabled our organisation to offer a more varied experience to the people we support. Seeing the joy that playing music together in a safe space is extremely humbling and something the whole team are immensely proud of. We really value the support we have received from the Police Crime Commissioner."

As a multi award winning organisation, RainbowBiz, has had many positive achievements, including recently winning a national diversity and inclusion award in Cardiff for their CSR initiatives. The organisation was established in 2015 as a Social Enterprise. After several years of trading at various events and festivals, they were able to open their own premises at the Hippy Shop in Mold in 2017.

The Innovate to Grow funding initiative complements the priorities within the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan, as well as his Community Oriented Police Service (COPS) approach to serve all communities across North Wales. Examples of projects eligible for Innovate to Grow support include those covering youth services, early intervention, and adverse childhood experiences; drug, alcohol and substance misuse services; and organisations working to combat domestic abuse, sexual violence, and violence against women and girls. The important thing is that they offer new and innovative ways of solving the problems that can often lead to criminal behaviour.

Andy Dunbobbin has allocated £100,000 to Innovate to Grow to support projects for up to one year, with the main focus being on innovation. A maximum of £5,000 is available for each project; however, should the project be delivered across two or more counties, a maximum of £10,000 will be offered.

To be eligible for funding, applicants must be not-for-profit and must complete a business plan. The plan must align to one of the Commissioner’s policing priorities. All organisations also need to ensure they have a Welsh Language, Equal Opportunities and Social Value policy in place and show how they will be integrating these areas into the delivery of the project.

For further information on the Innovate to Grow project and how to apply, click here.

For further information on Musical Mates, contact Ian Forrester via email at