Harnessing the power of film to tell hidden stories, Kirklees Local TV is an internet-based TV station that provides a platform for young people to grow their confidence and agency.
Kirklees Local TV (KLTV) is an online TV station and film production company that provides quality local news and promotes civic activism, research and discussion on social and cultural matters that affect Huddersfield and West Yorkshire. A social enterprise, KLTV’s primary objective is to give marginalised groups a voice, amplify minoritised ethnicities’ heritage and culture, and give young people a platform and the support to tell those stories. KLTV generates income by providing video production, training, and coaching services to other organisations, and invests it back into the local communities and people it serves.
Milton Brown, CEO, drew on decades of experience in community enterprise to found the production company in 2011. After a military career in the RAF and success as an athlete at county level, he became the driving force behind several education and training initiatives that empowered young people in the region.
But when the 2008 global recession hit the public sector funding streams they relied on, Milton and his team pivoted to digital TV production. This shift responded to young people’s interests and the growth of YouTube at that time, and enabled him to build a more sustainable business model. He explains: “A lot of young people have ambitions in digital, but don’t understand digital business and taking your product and content to market. So KLTV does all of that. We’re building the infrastructure around young people. We have links with the University of Huddersfield and local colleges. As young people come to us, we develop their multimedia skills, create links, and make connections for them. They move the organisation further forward, then someone else comes in to take it to the next leveI. Young people are the energy and we’re the experience. If they’re happy, the organisation is flourishing.”
KLTV now receives over 180,000 website visits a month and has a growing roster of community customers who come to the team for high quality video and content production to share their local stories and events. Creating opportunities for young people to develop their skills and build their networks, with support and mentoring, has created a solid foundation for the organisation.
Leah Conway, aged 23, also started in a placement during her second year of university, and returned to KLTV in a freelance capacity after graduating. She has had a similar confidence boost as a result of her involvement: “It’s been really good career-wise to be in an environment where I’m encouraged to try lots of things. The initial transition from being a volunteer to a freelancer was a bit scary. To begin with I had to find my footing, confidence, and belief that, yes – actually – I do have the skills to do this. My self-doubt was the main barrier, but I knew I had lots of support from others. Now I feel a lot more assured in my ability.”
Both Chris and Leah are passionate about supporting young volunteers and staff members to grow and develop in their careers, drawing on their own experience,
and have taken an active role in the development of KLTV. Recently they have worked together to create a new digital and social media strategy for the production company, and are both proud of their involvement in ‘Windrush: The Years After’, KLTV’s award-winning documentary on the history and legacy of Huddersfield’s own Windrush Generation, which generated interest nationally and internationally.
Harnessing the power of digital archiving and documentation to centre the voices of marginalised people is a shared passion and motivation for everyone at KLTV. The team’s plans for the future include building a satellite model of services and broadcasters to empower a broader network of freelance creatives in the region. They are also planning to add podcasts to the content mix, develop the training offer, and serve a wider range of community groups and businesses with their video production services.