This month has seen the launch of Filmwight – the Island’s new film office.

It’s an important event. Why? Because if we want to prosper, we need to develop more jobs in the creative and arts economies.

This isn’t about quaffing champagne at fancy events.

The creative economy is a significant part of the UK economy, and — regardless of the pandemic — it’s only going to grow.

Getting more of these jobs on the Island will offer our young people more opportunities, more aspiration and a better future.

The creative economy is also important for our quality of life, as we know from our festival culture.

Filmwight is the Island’s ‘front door’ to the film industry.

It will — in fact it is already — selling to the Island as a great location for film-making. Go and have a look at its website;

And if you have a service: from production, to event support, to catering, to design, make sure you get your name on the website.

It’s there to support all film and TV-related business on the Island.

Creative industry jobs are valuable. When the Britbox series, The Beast Must Die, was filmed on the Island last year it brought in tens of thousands of pounds a day.

It demonstrates how arts and culture can stimulate the economy as well as the mind.

For nearly two centuries, the Island inspired some of our nation’s greatest artists – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the celebrated Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and England’s greatest painter, JMW Turner, to name but a few.

Yet from the 1960s onwards we forgot what a unique role we had.

Rather than build on that, for cultural tourism and the new creative industries, we forgot about it. There are parallels here with education. W

e missed the higher education revolution that rejuvenated towns and cities along the south coast. Why?

Well, we have had some strong individual leaders but overall we have lacked a vision of our future. As I have often said, we are going to change that.

One of the first things I did when I became your MP was persuade Arts Council England to make the Isle of Wight a priority location. Well, Filmwight is one of the outcomes of that.

It’s been driven by Linda Sullivan, from Niton, who has given her time for free.

I thank Linda and her team for the amazing work they have done and passion that they have shown in delivery this project.

Filmwight: Lights, Camera, Action!