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Finalists of script initiative for women in the UK are announced

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A woman reads a script in her dressing room
Unbalanced big screen: in 2028 only 17% of comedy films made in the UK had at least one female writer

Award-winning broadcaster UKTV  and Female Pilot Club have announced the four finalists of their 2022 script call for TV comedy pilots by women, for women. The call for submissions invited women to submit original comedy scripts featuring female lead characters over the age of 45. The finalists will receive development help from FPC and UKTV before a live reading with top flight comedy talent in the New Year. 

UKTV concluded the script call initiative with Female Pilot Club, run by award-winning writer Kay Stonham and actor/producer Emily Chase. Four finalists were chosen from over 340 script submissions: Hayley Tamaddon, best known for playing Delilah Dingle in British soap opera Emmerdale; actor, writer and stand-up comedian Leigh Douglas, as well as actresses Nikki Patel and Sydney Stevenson.

Since 2019 Female Pilot Club has produced readings of new comedy scripts in front of live audiences with the cream of British comedy talent, including Kerry Howard, Arabella Weir, Jordan Stephens, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Kiell Smith-Bynoe and Sindhu Vee. This is the Club’s first collaboration with a broadcaster.

“Female Pilot Club exists to amplify brilliant female comedy voices and we’ve been proud to partner with UKTV on this groundbreaking initiative to find stories that foreground the lives of older women.” says Kay Stonham, “We were amazed and pleased to receive over 340 submissions from talented writers across the UK.”


Female Pilot Club was founded to address inequality with support from Comedy 50:50 by award-winning comedy TV and Radio writer Kay Stonham (My Family, Harry Enfield and Chums, Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression, Shaun the Sheep), actor and writer Emily Chase (The Pact, Master Of None, Bad Salsa, Bloody Comedy TV), and writer Abigail Burdess (Tracey Ullman’s Show, Paddington, That Mitchell & Webb Look). Female writers continue to face challenges pursuing careers in the film and television industry. The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) revealed in their 2018 Gender Inequality and Screenwriters report that only 17% of comedy films made in the UK had at least one female writer, and that just 11% of TV sitcoms were predominantly female-written.

Lindsey Rost, Development Executive – Scripted Comedy, UKTV, says, “We’re thrilled to be working with these four brilliant female comedy writers in partnership with Female Pilot Club. We received an incredibly strong batch of submissions, which goes to show once again that female and diverse comedy writing talent is out there for anyone looking for it. We have four fantastic, delightfully funny scripts all featuring female leads over the age of 45 that we can’t wait to showcase in the new year.”

Information about the initiative can be found on the Female Pilot Club website.

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UK to get multi-million pound boost for grassroots cricket

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UK to get multi-million pound boost for grassroots cricket
Investment is expected to deliver 2,500 pieces of new equipment across schools, and help to get 930,000 pupils playing cricket

United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a £35 million investment in grassroots cricket facilities and widening access to the sport within state schools, enabling over 900,000 young people to play cricket over the next five years.

The investment, to be delivered across a period during which England and Wales host the 2026 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, the 2030 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and cricket returns to the Olympics for the first time in over 120 years, includes a major capital programme that will see 16 state-of-the-art all-weather cricket domes built within host cities across England.

The domes are covered and wind-protected and will allow for participation in cricket throughout the year – connecting school, community and talent programmes. Each dome will be built within diverse communities where figures have indicated low levels of physical activity. It follows the first cricket dome opened in Bradford in November last year.

The funding package will enable an extension to the ECB and Chance to Shine’s in-school cricket partnership. This will have a particular emphasis on children from lower socio-economic groups, and ensure that every school child in inner-city locations from across the 16 World Cup host cities will access the programme.

A further investment to the charity Lord’s Taverners will have a focus on access to cricket provision for 80,000 children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The total investment is expected to deliver around 2,500 pieces of new equipment across schools involved in the programmes, and help to get 930,000 pupils playing cricket over the next five years.

In addition, the ACE Programme will receive additional funding to support their work in reconnecting the Black community with cricket.

“I first experienced the magic of cricket watching Hampshire play at my local ground in Southampton as a child.

“There remains huge potential to grow the sport even further and open it up to everyone, from all backgrounds and in all parts of the country, building on the great work of organisations such as ACE and Chance to Shine.

“That is why I am so proud we are making a major £35 million investment in grassroots cricket today, to widen participation in schools, encourage healthy lifestyles and provide world class, all-year-round facilities for local communities,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

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European Forum pledges over €7.7 billion for global crises

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European Humanitarian Forum pledges over €7.7 billion for global crises
Nearly 300 million people around the world will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2024.

Nearly 300 million people around the world will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2024. The EU will provide more than €7.7 billion in humanitarian funding for 2024, following the European Humanitarian Forum which gathered leaders and humanitarian experts in Brussels. The money will go towards more efficient, long-term solutions to global humanitarian challenges.

The Forum’s participants agreed to increase funding to address the gap between humanitarian needs and available resources. Increase in climate financing for conflict-affected, climate-vulnerable areas is also on the cards, as well as address conflict and preserve humanitarian space, notably in the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip.

The European Humanitarian Forum was co-organised by the European Commission and the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU last month, gathering 1,400 representatives from across the humanitarian community, EU countries and beyond.

Currently the EU is one of the biggest aid donors in the world, with funds being used for intervention in areas such as food and nutrition, shelter, healthcare, water, sanitation, and education.

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Grants for community projects in the UK open for applications

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Grants for community projects in the UK open for applications
The scheme offers support to projects which benefit both rail passengers and local communities | Photo: Kenny Eliason

Community rail projects have been given the green light thanks to funding from London Northwestern Railway (LNR).

Grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 have been made available via the “Your Community, Your Fund” scheme which offers support to projects which benefit both rail passengers and local communities.

The scheme, funded by the Department for Transport, is aimed at inspiring people to get involved with the railway and has been made available for applications by LNR.

“This funding is crucial for the railway and the vital projects make a real difference to local areas. The scheme has already supported a number of community-led projects in recent years and I am delighted that we have secured funding for new applications,” says Cara Higgs, LNR community strategy manager.

The funding is split between projects from LNR and its sister company West Midlands Railway (WMR).

Previously, projects have included enhancing Smethwick Rolfe Street with bedders, planters and artwork and the opening of a new tea room at Bricket Wood station in Hertfordshire.

The deadline for applications is 11.59pm Tuesday 16 April.

For more information visit www.lnr.uk/ycyf.

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