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Multimillion pound investment is picture perfect for University filmmakers

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Published on 11 April 2019

Mark Stuart Bell (plain shirt) and business partner Glen Colledge of Second Draft
Mark Stuart Bell (plain shirt) and business partner Glen Colledge of Second Draft

University graduates who benefited from a multimillion-pound North East growth fund are repaying the favour with their filmmaking talents.

Hope Street Xchange, the University of Sunderland’s £10m centre for enterprise and innovation, received £4.9m from the Local Growth Fund – which is investing more than £270m in major capital projects across the North East LEP region.

The centre is designed to encourage entrepreneurial growth in the city by supporting fledgling start-ups. Start-ups just like video production company Second Draft.


Comprising of Mark Stuart Bell and business partner Glen Colledge, Second Draft were commissioned to produce a film showcasing the impact of the £270m Local Growth Fund; using their storytelling talents to illustrate how the fund has benefited its many recipients.


Winning the contract was a major step for the fledgling business, which recently moved from the Enterprise Place at Hope Street Xchange into new offices at Sunderland’s Business and Innovation Centre (BIC).


Providing funding to major capital projects in all seven local authority areas, the Local Growth Fund aims to create jobs, boost the economy and improve the quality of life for people living and working in North East England.


Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “More than 50 individual projects have received funding through the Local Growth Fund.


“Funding was awarded to projects that helped achieve the objectives set of out in the region’s Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to support economic growth, improve productivity and increase the number of people employed in high quality jobs.


“All the projects make the North East a better place to live and work, and the improvements will be felt for generations to come. It’s not just about improving our economy, it’s also about improving quality of life for everyone that lives here.”

With help from the Enterprise Place at Hope Street Xchange, Mark and Glen were able to launch and build Second Draft. Mark, who studied for an MA in Journalism at the University, first met Glen when they connected 8,000 miles away on the Falkland Islands.

Mark was researching a documentary and needed a collaborator and a guide. Glen, at the time, was a cameraman and editor on the Island’s TV station.

Six months later the filmmakers were working together back in the UK, before taking the big step into starting up their new business.

Mark said: “It’s a big responsibility to showcase the North East, particularly when the aim is to attract investment and create jobs.”

You can watch Second Draft’s four-minute feature video for the North East LEP here

In Sunderland, projects supported by the Local Growth Fund include:Business growth:

  • Hope Street Xchange
  • City renewal: The Beam, Vaux
  • Social enterprise: Beacon of Light
  • Strategic employment site infrastructure: IAMP


Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry MP, said: “We are investing in the future of communities across the Northern Powerhouse and the whole country through the Local Growth Fund.

 “The projects already delivered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership with their share of the fund are changing lives by building the infrastructure, skills, jobs and confidence people need to thrive.”


The Enterprise Place project is receiving up to £1,344,431 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regeneration. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding(link is external).