Bath’s pandemic-hit creative talent can have a brighter future, thanks to new support programme

September 2, 2021

A new support programme to help people working in the West of England’s thriving creative sector has been officially opened by Metro Mayor Dan Norris.

Some 55 businesses in areas spanning music recording, web design, photography, theatre, illustration, film, video and TV production will take part in the five-month Creative Sector Growth Programme, which is run by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

Participants will benefit from access to workshops and training delivered by Bristol’s Watershed media centre, £3,000 of mentoring, coaching and consultancy expertise and the chance to get together to learn from each other.

Mayor Norris, who leads WECA, addressed the launch event at the Watershed and met the talented individuals who will take part.

He said: “The West of England is rich with creative talent, but many working in the sector have been hit hard by the pandemic and freelancers particularly have been excluded from government support.

“I wanted to get this brand new scheme up-and-running quickly because it will help these freelancers and creative businesses get back on their feet and face the future with growing confidence.

“We are a region of innovation and creativity – let’s make sure it’s the best it can be.”

One of the first businesses that will benefit from the new support scheme is Bristol-based media-tech company Gritty Talent.

Its creative director and founder Mel Rodrigues, pictured, said: “Coming out of Covid-19, our business is at a pivotal point, and so to build our resilience and grow, we need trusted support to make informed business decisions in these unchartered times.

“The Creative Sector Growth Programme is providing this in well thought-out, bitesize chunks, and with lots of opportunities to learn from other businesses too.”

The Creative Sector Growth Programme is funded by £500,000 from the Creative and Cultural Recovery Fund with £300,000 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

Pictured at the launch, from left: Briony Phillips, scale-up lead at Bath-based Rocketmakers and facilitator on the Creative Sector Growth Programme; Gill Wildman, business development advisor for Watershed and the South West Creative Technology Network; Nona Hunter, West of England Combined Authority creative scale-up programme manager; Dan Norris, West of England Mayor; and Mark Leaver, Watershed project lead and facilitator

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