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West Midlands Mayor announces new Screen Industry Body to boost creative sector

The new body, which has been developed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in conjunction with the region’s three Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), will be chaired by Ed Shedd.

Birmingham-born Mr Shedd will preside over the board, which will comprise top talent from across the region’s screen businesses and will serve as a single point of contact for national and international film, TV and game makers.

It is hoped the new body, which will be industry-led, will revolutionise the current screen industry, helping to drive investment, growth and thousands of new jobs.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “The West Midlands has a strong screen industry with a string of success stories – not least Leamington Spa’s gaming cluster which employs 10% of the UK gaming industry.

“However we have learnt from the region’s Channel 4 bid and from engaging with industry leaders that there is a lot more that can be done to support the screen sector so the West Midlands can truly be recognised as a world class centre for creative content.

“We plan to see 29,000 new, high skilled jobs in the digital and creative industries by 2030, but we will not be able to achieve this without having an industry body in place to help the region capitalise on the fast-growing creative sector.

“For the screen sector to realise its full potential, the brightest and best entrepreneurs from the industry need to have the structure and mandate to drive forward that growth. This new body will provide just that.”

With an aim to launch in the autumn of this year, the body hopes to act as a coordinating and powerful voice for the sector. Existing networks like Film Birmingham, Screen Central and Silicon Spa will partner with the new body to deliver programmes of activity, which will be at arms-length from local government.

There are four key aims of the new body, including:

  • Develop a single delivery plan and help turn strategy into action
  • Secure and deliver both public and private funds
  • Commission a variety programmes of activity
  • Both lobby and promote the West Midlands screen industry