Wealth of talent joins Create Central's growing network to champion the region's creative industries



Create Central, the West Midlands trade body for the creative content sector, has assembled a star-studded array of home-grown industry talent to join its existing membership to act as global roving ambassadors for the region. 

Create Central Chair Ed Shedd said: “I’m delighted to announce that Sir Lenny Henry has agreed to be a Create Central Champion, alongside Steven Knight, Adil Ray, Marverine Cole, Angela Ferreira, and more amazing industry leaders. What an incredible bunch! They’ve all agreed to be Create Central Champions because they believe, as we do, that investment in the creative industries is essential to our economic recovery and the future of our amazing home-grown talent that, all too often, we see leaving the region.”

Launched in October 2019, Create Central kicked off its programme of delivery in the summer of 2020, since then our membership of industry leaders has expanded to include some of the most successful TV, film, games and wider creative content business leaders to turbo-charge the region’s creative content sector.

Wealth of talent joins Create Central's growing network to champion the region's creative industries

A photo montage of the Create Central Champions

The next phase of Create Central’s evolution is to reach out to international audiences making use of these renowned and respected role models to get the West Midlands’ message going global. 

Among the roster of successful business leaders is Sir Lenny Henry. Sir Lenny Henry has already done a huge amount to promote the region, one of the West Midlands most high-profile alumni, the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, Sir Lenny’s production company Douglas Road filming My Name is Leon (from Kit de Waal’s book) and the recent publication of Black British Lives Matter: A Clarion Call for Equality, to name but a few of his major achievements.    

Sir Lenny said: “I was born and raised in the Black Country, but began my career in 1975 in Birmingham. The second city and its creativity means a great deal to me. I am passionate about authentic Midlands’ voices taking their rightful place in the spotlight. With our very own content centre encouraging new talent, access to funding and studio resources we can do all this and more.”

Journalist and Broadcaster, Marverine Cole said: “One of my missions as a Create Central Champion is to help young people get their chance to work here in the West Midlands in the thriving creative content sector.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), said: “In the heart of the UK and the home of hits like Peaky Blinders, Man Like Mobeen, Gadget Show, Great British Menu and Small Axe, we are increasingly asserting ourselves as a creative powerhouse. Not only is this wonderful news in its own right, it is also leading to lots of exciting and rewarding career opportunities for local people. 

“Now, to help take us to the next step alongside significant investments, I am delighted we have appointed some of our region’s best creative sons and daughters to become Create Central Champions. I can’t think of a better group to help raise the profile of the West Midlands both within the UK and abroad, and I know they will help grow our creative sector from strength to strength.”

Create Central Champions will provide international reach, taking the West Midlands global. Expect to see them out and about helping to network our regions opportunities for local talent and encouraging investment and increased content creation and production in the region.  

Adil Ray OBE said: “I don’t see how you can tell UK stories without knowing what’s happening right here in this region. That’s why my team and I have set up Cornered Tiger, a Birmingham based Production company. If you are a commissioner, a broadcaster, a creative or someone with an idea, come to the West Midlands and be part of it. Come and see why this region is the beating heart of the UK.”

Cllr Ian Brookfield, WMCA portfolio holder for economy and innovation and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “As our region recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, expanding our creative content sector is key to growing our economy in a way that benefits all our communities, especially young people.

“It’s great news that our new Create Central Champions will be helping to grow this sector in the West Midlands – and the WMCA is equipping local people with skills and hands-on experience to secure the new jobs coming to the region.”

Create Central Champions will act as ambassadors for the West Midlands creative content sector, using their profile to raise awareness of the opportunities and talent in the region both nationally and globally.

Create Central is made up of successful business leaders from the region – you can find out more about Create Central and its Members on its website www.createcentraluk.com.  

The 10 Create Central Champions are:

Sir Lenny Henry

Marverine Cole

Steven Knight CBE

Harinder Sangha

Adil Ray OBE

Jessica Symons

Ed James

Angela Ferreira

Dean Lovett

Genea Lynch

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