Support for creative industries set for £2.3m boost

New initiatives designed to boost West Yorkshire’s creative industries will be launched later this month, following investment confirmed last year.

The £2.3m support package, approved by leaders in July, aims to grow the sector as part of the region’s new ‘You Can Make It Here’ programme.

It includes business and skills training to support freelancers, help for creative businesses to increase their exports, and investment for venues to become more accessible to disabled artists and audiences.

The package includes £520,000 of funding from the Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport for the ‘Create Growth’ programme, to drive equity investment in creative industries businesses.

More opportunities for young people from disadvantaged groups to break down the barriers and secure employment in television and film production roles will also be introduced, through an extension of support for the Mayor’s Screen Diversity Programme, run by Screen Yorkshire.

This will help creative sector businesses to develop a more diverse pool of skilled people to take on the specialist roles needed across the region.

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said: “Our creative industries and freelancers have had a rough ride over the last few years, so we’re stepping up to ensure they’re fully supported.

“It’s an exciting time for culture in West Yorkshire and I want everyone to have the chance to unleash their potential.

“Culture drives growth, and devolution has given us this incredible opportunity to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”

Leader of Wakefield Council, Councillor Denise Jeffery, said: “This support package has come at a really important time as we gear up for Our Year – Wakefield District 2024, a huge 366-day programme of cultural and heritage activity.

“We have some exciting events and activities lined up and this funding offers a real boost to our plans.

“It will provide support for local creative individuals and businesses, helping them to grow and take advantage of the opportunities Our Year will bring, as well as building quality employment opportunities for our residents into the future.”

Chief executive officer of The Piece Hall Trust, Nicky Chance-Thompson, added: “These new initiatives are timely and very welcome.

“There’s a great pool of untapped talent across the region which these programmes will help identify and provide opportunity to nurture.

“With West Yorkshire establishing itself as a creative hotspot, now’s the time to move up a gear in offering these skills to local people.”