If you haven’t seen our Switch on to Swindon film yet then first of all, why not? Second of all, get over to the website, have a look and share it. Every time we show the film to somebody new it gets a fantastic reaction and is now nearing 250,000 views with many businesses using it in their campaigns.

We are committed to working with all of the talented organisations that we have at our disposal in Swindon to support the SOTS campaign. So, having an award-winning digital and creative agency, Create Studios, right on our doorstop was quite handy when it came to producing the film.

It was a real pleasure therefore to see last week Create’s CEO and artistic director, Shahina Johnson, collect her MBE, awarded by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition for services for the arts and creative industries in Swindon and Wiltshire.

For those who don’t already know Create invests in talented young people and offers them opportunities to develop their potential. It draws together communities through social history and issue-based projects and through these engages around 7,000 participants a year building digital skills in film, photography, gaming and more. Create’s Graduate Returner support programme, Create Futures, is a scheme to help young people into paid employment in the creative industries and there are already a great many working nationally and internationally who made their start at Create.

The creative industries is a growing sector and with organisation’s like Create here Swindon can certainly take advantage of that growth and stand out in the sector. Shahina is also a Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) Board Member where she supports the place-shaping agenda and priority on developing digital skills in the area.

This gives me an opportunity to talking a bit about SWLEP and some of their programmes that support and complement the SOTS campaign.

While SOTS is primarily about promoting Swindon to potential new investors, businesses and employees there is a huge amount of potential for new and existing businesses in Swindon to grow. The SWLEP Growth Hub (growthhub.swlep.co.uk) is a gateway to access support, whether you are starting, running or growing your business. Alongside comprehensive information and advice the Growth Hub also gives businesses the chance to network, share ideas and be part of a community across Swindon and Wiltshire that supports growth.

The SWLEP is business led and we make sure the SOTS ambassador network is able to get involved in any strategies that are being developed for the area. Next Tuesday the SWLEP are meeting businesses to get their input on developing an energy strategy. Businesses will be asked about their needs and for ideas on future energy provision in the area.

The goal is to have a local energy strategy that sets out how we can build a thriving low carbon economy. There is still time to register for the event if you follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/swindon-and-wiltshires-energy-future-setting-the-agenda-tickets-42909399168 Just a couple of examples then of SWLEP activity and I look forward to giving some further updates on some of the work we will be doing together on attracting inward investment in particular sectors.

Congratulations to Shahina and all the team at Create Studios and keep up the good work.