Film and TV industry charity 6ft From the Spotlight were awarded The Production Guild of Great Britain’s inaugural Earl of Wessex Award last night, in recognition of its work to improve mental health and wellbeing in the UK film and television production workplace.

The award was presented in person by His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex, the Guild’s Royal Patron, in a ceremony that closed the PGGB’s first ever Talent Showcase in Central London. 

Presenting the award, HRH The Earl of Wessex said: “Many congratulations to 6ft From The Spotlight for becoming the first winners of this Award. I really do hope that recognising them in this way not only highlights the pioneering work being done in the production industry to make workplaces more inclusive, but also inspires others to adopt similar practices.”

Lyndsay Duthie, PGGB CEO says: “We applaud 6ft From the Spotlight for taking proactive steps to improve mental health and wellbeing in the film and high-end TV workplace. They have worked tirelessly to develop the Wellbeing Facilitator model which has benefited countless crew and can be easily adopted by others. Congratulations to all of the Earl of Wessex Award nominees whose work has been showcased, and thank you to Disney Content Studios, the headline sponsor of tonight’s Talent Showcase which, through social investments and collaborations like these, continues to increase access to careers in entertainment for underrepresented groups.”

6ft From the Spotlight was founded in 2017 by a committed group of crew along with several mental health specialists: consultant and trainer Matt Longley, psychologist Michelle White, mental health first aiders Leo Anna Thomas and Jude Spencer and accredited trainer Davey Shields. Concerned at the spiralling mental health issues within the production sector and increasingly pressured working conditions during the pandemic, the group set out to define a new Wellbeing Facilitator (WBF) role for the UK film and TV industry, which has now been adopted by productions and has directly supported more than 1,000 crew to date. 

More than 30 WBFs have been trained by 6ft From the Spotlight to date on productions including Gangs of London series 2 (Sky), The Peripheral (Amazon Prime Video) and Culprits (Disney). Feedback from crew has been overwhelmingly positive, particularly amongst new entrants, trainees and those ‘stepping up’ within their grade, many of whom had previously found it difficult to articulate issues for fear of not getting their next role. 

The PGGB Earl of Wessex Award was created in 2022 to recognise those in the UK film and high-end TV industry who have created “a successful way of inspiring local talent or skills, widening access or being more inclusive.”  The three other finalists for the award were youth-led production company Fully Focused, media charity MAMA Youth Project and social change enablers Resource Productions.

More than 250 industry figureheads, newcomers, students, educators and skills bodies gathered at The Savoy Hotel last night for the first PGGB Talent Showcase, presented in association with The Walt Disney Studios, supported by Entertainment Partners.