It's an odd way to make a single but Cerys Matthews' interpretation of the catchy-classic '1-2-3' - recorded specially for the Welsh Assembly Government's recent Wales-wide numeracy campaign - has just been made available as a download with all profits going to the NSPCC's FULL STOP campaign to end cruelty to children.
The hummable hit tune, first recorded by Len Barry in 1965, has been ringing out regularly across Wales – in both English and Welsh - for the last five weeks to publicise the bilingual 'Numbers Count' numeracy campaign. With Cerys' help, the campaign - devised on behalf of the Welsh Assembly’s National Basic Skills Strategy by the Basic Skills Agency - has been so popular that the Agency has distributed over 70,000 free Numbers Count information packs and has just reprinted another 50,000 to meet demand.
According to Cerys: "Singing a new version of the classic song 1-2-3 was an absolute joy". The star – and mother of two – who is now recording her new album in Nashville, explained her support for the campaign saying: "Being a mother has been fantastic and I want to try to do the very best for my children. So when I was asked to get involved in the Numbers Count campaign I said yes immediately ..."
"I also think it's great that another pack has been produced aimed at helping adults improve their maths. I've always thought it's never too late to learn, so if the 1-2-3 song can play a part in making a better Wales, wouldn't that be fantastic."
As Toni Schiavone, Executive Director – Wales at the Basic Skills Agency, explains: "Numbers Count aimed to help adults to improve their numeracy skills and to encourage parents to play games with their children to develop early number skills. Cerys' version of 1-2-3 is so catchy that you really can't get the song out of your head. We hope this recording will be just as successful for the NSPCC."
The NSPCC's FULL STOP Campaign aims to raise awareness of child abuse and to encourage and help the public to act if they suspect child abuse. Anyone wanting to download the track – available in English - can obtain it from www.jmcreative.net (the website created by JM Creative, the Cardiff-based ad-agency commissioned to produce the TV and radio adverts for Numbers Count). Customers can choose to donate between 99p-£4.99 to download the song, with all funds going to the FULL STOP campaign.
Carol Gillanders, the NSPCC FULL STOP Campaign Manager for Wales, says: "We are extremely grateful to both JM Creative and Cerys Matthews for their generous support. This is a great example of how companies and individuals can think creatively about how they can play a part in providing a safe future for children in Wales."
For further information, images or sound clips, contact Valerie McBurney or Ruth Yarnit at the Basic Skills Agency Press Office, telephone: 020 7440 7788, mobile: 07979 240936, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
For out of hours media enquiries please call 07979 240936.
Notes for editors
Cerys Matthews, born in 1969 in Cardiff, Wales and brought up in Swansea and Pembrokeshire, was lead singer of Welsh rock band Catatonia from 1992 to 2001. After leaving Catatonia, Cerys moved to Nashville in 2002 and worked with producer Bucky Baxter, who had played lap steel guitar for Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams, on her debut album, Cockahoop. The album was released in the UK in May 2003 and in the US in October 2004. Cerys now lives in Nashville with her husband Seth Riddle, whom she married in February 2003, and their two children, Glenys Pearl Y-Felin and Johnny Tupelo Jones.
A survey on numeracy in Wales [PDF] 80KB - released by the Basic Skills Agency in advance of the Numbers Count campaign – revealed that 1 in 5 adults in Wales struggle with basic maths. The survey results also showed that 25% of Welsh adults say they have trouble working out sums with decimal points, 36% struggle with fractions and 31% have difficulty working out percentages.
The Numbers Count campaign ran from 23 January to 26 February across Wales. The Basic Skills Agency distributed 50,000 Help your Children information packs and 21,000 Help Yourself packs (aimed at adults). A further 50,000 children's packs have been produced to meet demand.
The Basic Skills Agency – a Government funded national organisation working at arms' length from government – is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the National Strategy, Words Talk – Numbers Count, on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.
The Basic Skills Agency is the national development agency for literacy and numeracy in England and Wales. The Agency is funded primarily by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Welsh Assembly Government. The Agency's mission is to contribute to raising standards of basic skills in England and Wales and its aims are to develop approaches that most effectively improve standards of basic skills and disseminate good practice. The Agency's Patron is HRH The Princess Royal, the Chairman is Garry Hawkes CBE, and the Director of the Basic Skills Agency is Alan Wells OBE.
The Agency defines basic skills as 'the ability to read, write, and speak in English or Welsh and use mathematics at a level necessary to function and progress at work and in society in general'.
The NSPCC's FULL STOP campaign to end cruelty to children was launched in March 1999 by HRH The Duke of York and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Since then, the charity has doubled the number of children and young people it has helped and has campaigned to protect many more.