The Millennium Stadium has launched its 2010 Community Events programme which offers Welsh charities the unique opportunity to bring their events to the iconic venue in the New Year without incurring hire charges.

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The initiative was first introduced ten years ago to offer the multi-event venue at cost to charitable organisations on 15 separate days set aside each year and has welcomed a variety of projects to the home of Welsh sport since its inception.

A host of sports stars plying their trade in Wales have lent their support to a variety of causes such as Wales and Newport Gwent Dragons Colin Charvis, who backed the “Show Racism the Red Card” annual award ceremony, and Cardiff City striker Michael Chopra, rugby league’s Celtic Crusaders and the legendary Team Calzaghe who supported UnLtd Sport Relief this year.

Former Wales captain Charvis has fond memories of the Millennium Stadium – ending his international career on a high at the home of Welsh sport with a try in the last of his 94 Welsh appearances against South Africa in 2007 – and is delighted to support the Community Events programme at the Cardiff venue.

He said: “This is a great initiative which allows charitable organisations to boost the profile of their annual events within the iconic setting of, arguably the best rugby venue in the world, Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

“Over the years I have lent my support to various charitable organisations and have taken part in the popular community events programme at the Stadium on more than one occasion.

“I am happy to dedicate my time outside of the coaching environment to support the excellent work that our local charities administer and I would urge any organisation with a charitable conference or event coming up to get their application forms in to the Millennium Stadium events team as soon as possible and not to miss out!”

Millennium Stadium Manager Gerry Toms heads up the scheme which has supported varied charitable causes since the Stadium was built in 1999.

Mr Toms said: “The Community Events programme is a great opportunity for charitable organisations all over Wales to enjoy their national stadium facilities without the costs that commercial organisations face when bringing their conference and event requirements to the city centre.

“The events have been hugely successful over the years and attracted a range of positive activity from community football to landing the St John’s Ambulance helicopter on the roof of the Stadium.”

Nevertheless, the Stadium Manager is keen to encourage new ideas from community groups in Wales, he added: “We encourage people from right across Wales to apply and welcome new groups of people with new ideas.

“We can be flexible here due to the multi-functional nature of the Stadium which has attracted a wide range of events and will continue to do so in the future. If it is possible then our team can make it happen here within the Community Events programme.”

The Millennium Stadium invites applications from community and youth groups, amateur sporting clubs and organisations but excludes profit making events.

Up to 15 events each year will be staged free of charge except for direct costs incurred by the Millennium Stadium which will be borne by the event organisers.

Mr Toms urges all those interested in the scheme to complete the application process on the website here.

“Any not-for-profit organisation interested in the scheme should visit the website and apply as early as possible. A member of our team will get back to you to discuss your idea and how we can make your event happen,” he said.