A BRIGHTON-based videomaker is offering to create a two-minute animation for a struggling charity to help promote their work, completely free of charge.

Charlie Southall is the founder and creative director of video production company Dragonfly, which he set up in Brighton fifteen years ago with the help of a charity loan from the Prince’s Trust.

Dragonfly – which has since expanded to London – now produces hundreds of videos a year for the likes of Google, Honda, Dior, Amazon and Sony Playstation – as well as names such as Oxfam, Carers UK and Save The Children.

To take part in the competition, entrants will be asked to describe the purpose of their charity, the impact they make on people’s lives and one key message they’d like to communicate through the animation.

The production team at Dragonfly will provide the winning charity with the necessary expertise and equipment to produce the two-minute animated video, within the charity’s brand guidelines, on a fully pro bono basis.

For Charlie, the motivation to support charities is deeply personal.

Dragonfly has its roots in the charity sector and was started by Charlie when he first moved to Brighton in 2005 with the help of a Business Start-Up Loan from the Prince’s Trust.

Charlie, 41, who lives in North Laine, said: “My business was helped into existence thanks to a charity, which is something I’ll always be grateful for. It’s only right that I do something to give back.

“It’s heart-breaking to see so many charities facing cuts to services and significant losses in income, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“For a small charity that might be struggling right now, a two-minute animation that can be shared online is a powerful way of reminding existing supporters about the charity’s mission, while also reaching new audiences.

“These emotional connections with supporters are needed now, more than ever.”

Charlie added: “When I launched the company fifteen years ago, I was 24 years old, without a penny to my name. At that point the loan from the Prince’s Trust was the most amount of money I had ever had – and it genuinely turned my life around.

“It helped me grow a fledgling idea into a thriving business that’s expanded to London and created thousands jobs for freelance directors, producers, camera operators, stylists, drone pilots – and more.

“Those jobs have made a huge difference to many people – helping them buy homes and start their careers in the media. We’ve even had staff members meet in the office and start relationships – I know of at least one marriage!”

Dragonfly employs a staffing model used in the film industry, whereby it works with a bespoke team of freelancers for each client, including producers, video editors, animators, camera operators, drone pilots and more – which allows them the flexibility to work with the perfect team for each client.

Charlie said: “Charities change lives, and I’m living proof of that. But with so many organisations now struggling for survival, it’s time to show our support. If this opportunity can help just one charity get itself back on track, then that’s got to be a positive step.”

All the work will be carried out remotely and the competition is open to any registered charity.

Charlie added: “Retail giants such as Apple and John Lewis already know the power of branded video content. But research also shows that video is a proven way to communicate a charity’s brand message, boost visibility and ultimately boost income.

“As a nation, we are increasingly turning to digital channels and social media to keep entertained and informed – and charities who don’t have video content of their own could be missing out.”

The deadline for entries is 5pm on Sunday 31st January. Please visit the Dragonfly website for full instructions: https://www.dragonfly.co.uk/video-services/charity-video-production/