Channel 4 and Create Central have teamed up on a £30,000 More4 linear content development fund and a £20,000 digital development fund.
A Channel 4 West Midlands open day event is also to take place on May 16.
The partnership has been established to forge stronger relationships between West Midlands’ independent TV production companies and Channel 4 Commissioning to create more opportunities for creative talent in the region.
More4 the West Midlands is open to all production companies based within the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership area.
Three More4 program ideas will be selected for initial development and awarded £5,000 each, with one idea awarded an extra £15,000 funding for further development.
In September the digital development fund will also launch. It will be available to digital content makers in the West Midlands and will focus on short-form and digital content for social media and All 4.
The open day is for independent companies and freelancers to find out more about the channel and meet the commissioners running the funds. The event will be a mix of virtual sessions and in-person activities and will take place on an annual basis in the future.
Working with Create Central and training providers, Channel 4 will also deliver targeted training and skills initiatives in the region.
For schoolchildren, Channel 4 has targeted the West Midlands as one of the three regional areas in England (along with Yorkshire and the North East) for its 4Schools initiative. This scheme opens the world of television and the creative industries to young people, providing practical careers skills and advice.
Sinead Rocks, managing director nations and regions at Channel 4, said: “It’s part of our 4 All the UK strategy to support the growth of production outside of London, especially for smaller and medium-sized indies. The West Midlands is an area where we know there are huge amounts of talent and potential to grow. This partnership with Create Central should allow Channel 4 to support this growth by leveraging our unique relationship with indies.”
Ed Shedd, chairman of Create Central, said: “The West Midlands is one of the youngest and most diverse regions in Europe, full of talented people with stories to tell. Support for those individuals and independent creative businesses in the region is at the heart of Create Central’s mission, and so I am delighted to welcome this agreement between Create Central and Channel 4. Backing for skills and training on the ground, plus linear and digital development pots, will generate closer collaboration between the West Midlands’ screen sector and Channel 4, and real opportunities for local creative talent to break through.”