A professional youth film company that has worked with over 10,000 young people in the past year has received a massive boost with The Co-operative Group announcing its continued support and funding until at least 2014.

Forming an integral part of its commitment to Inspiring Young People, The Co-operative’s £1.2 million, six year, partnership with The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy (BYFA) is helping to create the UK’s most accessible youth film making academy.

Offering the thrills and challenges of professional full-length feature film production, BYFA delivers a unique educational opportunity for 14 - 25 year-olds - providing hands-on film-making experiences, through its summer camps, events and workshops, to equip young people, with an eye on a career in film, with the skills and confidence to make informed decisions about future education or career choices.

With eight films in the can and, a further four planned for 2011, students are mentored by professionals from both the film industry and education and offered everything from acting to make-up, wardrobe to camera and, post production through to the red-carpet experience.

Michael Fairclough, The Co-operative Group’s Head of Community and Campaigns, said: "When opportunities, passion and enthusiasm collide it can truly be life changing and, this is exactly the kind of exciting environment created by BYFA.

"This partnership is playing a key role in helping to bring about a cultural shift in the way young people are viewed and treated in this country - a key objective of The Co-operative’s commitment to Inspiring Young People."

Kevin Atkinson, Senior Manger at The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy, continued: "We are all absolutely thrilled with this news -  it is an incredible investment in the next generation at a time when many funding streams are being cut or reduced.

"I am incredibly proud of the students’ work and to be involved in the positive and life changing outcomes that BYFA consistently delivers. When the project originally started we had a vision and, with The Co-operative’s backing and support, it is has come to life.

"This year we have expanded into four UK regions and we can now look to further build on this - extending the reach of our summer camps, workshops and events into new regions to give more young people exciting opportunities in which to grow, develop and to realise their talents and potential."

During 2011, The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy is embarking on an ‘epic’ challenge to simultaneously make four full-length professional standard feature films, in four UK regions - North West, Yorkshire, East, and West Midlands - during the school summer holidays.

Earlier this year, BYFA’s film Re:Evolution - where students worked alongside actor, author and adventurer Brian Blessed - was screened at the 44th Houston International Film Festival. The Festival recognises outstanding creative excellence in film and, BYFA picked up a ‘Remi Award’ at its gala dinner.

The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy’s film ‘Julius Caesar’ enjoyed a special cast and crew premiere screening at The Odeon, Manchester, in March (2011).

And, BYFA also appeared in The Co-operative Group’s 'Join the Revolution' TV ads, a campaign showcasing everyday people who, with a little help from The Co-operative, are instigating real change.

For more information about The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy visit www.britishyouthfilmacademy.com