A PHOTOGRAPHER and video maker based in Falmouth has spoken of a how a grant received a year ago ended up helping him weather the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Smith was one of the earliest small businesses in Cornwall to receive an Enterprise Small Grant from Community Led local Development (CLLD) in June 2019.

CLLD is an EU-funded programme helping the local economy using funds from Europe, including the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Chris was helped to access funding to purchase specialist camera equipment and enable him to diversify into film work.

The lockdown hit him hard, particularly at the beginning.

Like many in the creative industries, a lot of his planned work was cancelled by clients.

In February, Chris became creative director of Cornwall-based video production company Bull & Wolf, but found that, even in this role, the lockdown had an impact on the company’s plans.

But Chris said: “The camera kit I managed to purchase due to a CLLD grant has helped me greatly.

"Without it, I wouldn't be working alongside Bull & Wolf and we certainly wouldn't have been able to pivot so quickly to home-studio filming, allowing us to continue to work with existing clients and embark on new projects even during lockdown.

“We've created a page on the Bull & Wolf website (https://bullandwolf.co/covid-19), which is regularly updated with information relating to how we are working during these challenging times.

"In line with government guidance we’re returning to location shooting, equipped with sanitisers and face masks, having seen a rise in enquiries from clients wanting to quick start their return to the marketplace."

Chris is offering remote editing for those clients still unable to return to their place of work.

For example, he is currently working on a suite of 'Virtual Open Day' videos for the Notre Dame School in Cobham, using footage from past shoots and videos filmed by the staff and students in their own homes.

Bull & Wolf has also created an animated video resource to publicise the St Petroc's charity fundraising appeal, which has raised more than £30,000 despite lockdown.