The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) launched its Indie TV and Film Development Fund in May this year, helping production companies across the region to get ahead of competitors and develop content.
Recipients of the fund are now producing content to pitch for commissions as a result of this support, which came at a time when companies faced funding challenges to develop new content due to lockdown.
Delivered in partnership with Screen Yorkshire, the fund has supported 22 projects across 13 businesses located across the region - including Rollem Productions in Leeds and Meridian Line Films based in York - with an investment of £224,817 by the LEP to create work for freelancers in the industry.
Kay Mellor OBE, managing director of Rollem Productions, said: “The funding from the LEP has been a huge help in boosting and maintaining our content development during these difficult times.
"In particular, we’ve been able to support upcoming writers to ensure their work can continue and they don’t miss out on any career opportunities.”
Mellor was joined in her praise by Nacressa Swan, executive producer at Meridian Line Films.
She said: “Over the last five years, Meridian Line Films have built a strong track record in producing high quality documentary series for broadcasters across the world.
"But as a diverse, northern indie, we’re also passionate about telling stories and creating formats, from our region and beyond, that reflect modern Britain.
"The support from the LEP has helped us to progress those projects with UK broadcasters."
The Indie TV and Film Development Fund is one aspect of the Creative Catalyst programme, which will help businesses in the creative industries in a number of ways.
It is designed to support and shape businesses to put them on the front foot as the sector continues its return to work, but more details will follow in the upcoming months.
Roger Marsh OBE DL, chairman of the LEP, said: “The development fund is one aspect of our broader commitment to the creative industries and building the ecosystem that makes great content.
"Support for production companies across the region is crucial so they can maintain content creation and strengthen their position for the future as the economy begins to recover.”
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, chairwoman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and leader of Bradford Council, added that the support was a testament to the value placed on indies working across the Leeds City Region, an area which actually includes Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York.
She said: "We are always mindful of looking to the future to generate opportunities for our young people and now, more than ever, it’s important to invest in what that future might look like for TV and film production in the region.”
Sally Joynson, chief executive at Screen Yorkshire, said: ''You can’t underestimate the importance of initiatives like this at such a critical time, whilst production has been at a standstill.
"Getting support for development has provided a lifeline and helped ensure that our indies are ahead of the game when it comes to seeking new commissions.''