BBC North announces new @North commission

Peter Salmon, Director, BBC North, today (February 7 2011) announced the final new commission from the @North initiative – with this new commission @North has now invested £500,000 in new digital content for the CBeebies and CBBC audiences from companies across the North of England.

The new @North commission has been won by Numiko from Leeds and is specifically for the Grown Ups section of the CBeebies website.

The Grown Ups section of the site is designed to support parents and carers and Numiko will develop new content which will also offer tools to enable grown-ups to enjoy the CBeebies brand with their child. The new content by Numiko will be online later in 2011.

Numiko has already won one commission from the @North fund. They are currently developing a sound-activated game for the 2-4 year old CBeebies audience.

Peter Salmon said: “Through @North we have now invested half a million pounds into small creative Northern companies, which is an important part of BBC North’s commitment to find new opportunities for the creative economy right across the North of England.”

He added: “The aim of @North was to discover, nurture and support creative relationships specifically across the North of England that would bring the world of CBeebies and CBBC to life online and I congratulate Numiko on winning a second commission.”

The announcement coincided with the launch of the first @North commission based on the new CBeebies series Mr Bloom’s Nursery, set in a colourful, fertile allotment run by the green-fingered Mr Bloom (Ben Faulks).

The series was filmed in Manchester and on location in Stockport and combines live action and puppetry to show how young children can learn from the experience of nurturing plants and vegetables.

From learning about the importance of drinking water when it’s hot and sunny to understanding that growing takes time, Mr Bloom’s Nursery explores a variety of themes to help children understand the world around them. And they even get to pick up some simple vegetable growing tips along the way.

Sheffield-based company The Workshop created a range of interactive games designed to engage and entertain the young audience using activities linked to growing vegetables which was funded by @North.

Under the heading ‘Veggie Playtime’ the games include Compo’s Rain Catcher, Ready Veggie Pull and Speedy Weeds and can be found at bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/mrbloomsnursery.

The @North digital initiative was launched by Peter Salmon in November 2009 to encourage and support the development and delivery of interactive content for CBBC and CBeebies.

@North is a pilot project led by BBC Children’s, involving multi-disciplinary teams from across different divisions of the BBC including Future Media and Technology (FM&T) working collaboratively.

The project also represents a new model of how the BBC will engage with independent companies and digital agencies across the north of England and has been developed in partnership with the regional screen agencies – Northern Film and Media, Screen Yorkshire and Vision+Media (North West).

Joe Godwin, Director BBC Children’s, said: “@North has proved to be an excellent way of engaging with digital companies across the North of England ahead of our move to Salford later this year. It has not just been about the great new work commissioned but also about building new relationships with small companies in the creative sector right across the north of England, in addition to the companies that we already work with.”

The other companies who have also won @North commissions (which were announced last year) are Brass from Leeds, Amaze from Manchester and TH_NK from Newcastle(See Notes To Editor).

As well as direct commissioning, @North has also developed and fostered deeper relationships with companies through a range of workshops offering both creative and technical development expertise. Since the launch of the initiative more than 50 companies have participated.

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