PART of Swindon's historic Carraige Works will be transformed into a £1 million film studio and teaching area.

This follows the government approving the latest Swindon's Towns Fund project which requested £400,000 to refurbish Unit 9 and Swindon Borough Council's Cabinet agreeing to lease it to Create Studios for 10 years.

The facility will provide opportunities for young people from all over Swindon through a range of community projects, training, and educational programmes to teach them digital skills and how to use production equipment.

Create Studios is a social enterprise which generates income and offers employment opportunities by delivering media production for partners including the NHS and English Heritage.

Nine jobs will be created to support 50 more artists, creatives, and specialists, while increasing income which can be reinvested into projects which benefit the community.

The studio is expected to have 16,000 direct participant engagements per year, live audiences of 60,000 people  for civic exhibitions, and an online audience of five million people.

CEO of Create Studios, Shahina Johnson MBE, said: “The Create team have had a long-standing commitment to building digital skills and employment opportunities for young people in Swindon, whilst also growing civic pride through large-scale cultural projects.

“To base this work and our film and animation production activity in a new accessible home in the historic Carriage Works development very much builds on that heritage of innovation with community at the heart.

“We want Swindon to benefit from the incredible growth of the digital creative industries, and having a first bespoke home to grow talent is a very exciting opportunity as we approach our 40th anniversary.”

This latest addition to the site joins the Royal Agricultural University’s Cultural Heritage Institute and the University of Bath’s iCAST centre.

The Carriage Works sits within the town’s Heritage Action Zone and is located on London Street opposite the Mechanics’ Institute. It has been partly restored but much of it has lain empty because it was deemed too unattractive to be brought forward through private sector investment.

The HAZ is receiving funding and support from Historic England, which is working with the council and other partners on a five year plan to revitalise the area.

Swindon Towns Fund Board chairman Richard Newland said: “I’m really pleased that our strong business case has been approved by the government and we can continue to regenerate the Carriage Works.

“The creative sector is growing at a rapid rate and this new facility will help us to retain and attract top talent to Swindon as well as give Create Studios the space to grow. It will provide opportunities for people looking to develop their careers in the digital industry and provide training opportunities for young people.

“There is still more work to be done at this historic site but it’s a very exciting time to be involved.”