“If Channel Four were a city it would be Sheffield” … UTC students back distinctive and diverse bid for national headquarters

Media and creative students from three of the city’s leading academic institutions have thrown their weight behind the city’s bid to bring Channel 4 to Sheffield.

Mia Fidment and Mia Rehman who are both at the UTC Sheffield City Centre and specialise in creative & digital media, joined journalism students from The Sheffield College, Moses Reid and Harrison Crawford, as the city’s bid for a new national headquarters was delivered to Channel 4. They were also joined by Luke Renwick from Sheffield Hallam University’s student union.

New city region mayor Dan Jarvis and council leader Julie Dore were also in attendance.

Mia Rehman said: “It would be brilliant for my career and help so many people in the creative industries across Sheffield. There is so much potential in Sheffield.”

Bid leaders have submitted their bid, saying that if Channel Four were a city it would be Sheffield. And at the heart of the city’s bid are the locations just minutes away from the Midland Railway Station that could provide a new home for the broadcaster, and where the submission was officially launched this afternoon.

They include a potential home at the iconic Park Hill development as well as space at the city’s Digital Campus close to the station. Three options have been identified – a refurbishment, new build or so-called hipster hangout.

Insiders say Sheffield is almost unrivalled in terms of the combination of journey time from London and between other cities around the UK, especially across the North, a critical element of Channel 4’s requirements.

And with Sheffield’s two universities, the City Centre UTC and The Sheffield College close by as well as digital companies like The Floow, Human and wanDisco in the city’s thriving cultural industries quarter, bid insiders say they have a “compelling case” for a Channel 4 move.

Sheffield is also putting diversity and a network of digital and hi-tech businesses – best demonstrated by the recent announcement of a new £3m Tech hub at Castlegate – at the heart of its bid to Channel 4.

The city now supports more than 22,000 digital jobs with a digital GVA of £339m.

Bid chair Richard Caborn said: “Sheffield is presenting a compelling case for Channel 4. The expertise and digital know-how which runs from Kelham to the railway station is unrivalled. Our cultural offerings such as Doc/Fest and Warp are world-renowned.

“We can offer a connectivity and closeness to talent and skills that few others can. We have Hallam and the UTC on our doorstep. All the sites identified can be reached on foot within minutes. And we have the spirit and independence that should remind Channel 4 of its own beginnings as a truly ground-breaking broadcasting force.

“All these components mean that we are unique in cities in being able to respond to the challenge that Channel 4 has set – to develop a creative campus in the heart of Sheffield that can ready it for the 22nd century.”

Channel 4 say the new national headquarters must be based in a city with a working population of more than 200,000, travel time to London of less than three hours and a high-level of physical and digital connectivity and infrastructure.

Its creative hubs must be based in a city with a working population of 75,000, a four-hour journey time to the capital and links to a well-developed independent television or digital production community.

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