A HEREFORD company has been nominated for six national awards against major national firms for its focus on the issue of domestic abuse.

Media charity and production house Rural Media has received six nominations for the 2021 Royal Television Society Awards for its film, The Willows.

The film is a 20-minute scripted drama made alongside Rural Action Derbyshire, focusing on domestic abuse in rural areas.

Home Office data shows 20 per cent of all crime recorded by West Mercia Police involved domestic abuse in the year to March 2020, with 17,069 such crimes recorded.

Of those, 4,341 involved stalking and harassment, while 546 coercive control incidents were reported.

Highlighted for their writing, directing and talent development skills that raised awareness on this issue, Rural Media’s short film The Willows has been singled out for four of their six nominations.

Rural Media are seeing more and more stories that show the continuing disparities in how women are treated in society.

The Willows works to underline the often-silent struggles that women go through.

Speaking about The Willows, Rural Media chief executive Nic Millington believes women’s safety is in different areas, he said: “Women's safety, both inside the home and in the world at large is an issue of growing concern, including of course in rural areas, that needs to be better understood and addressed."

Rural Media hope the film will help to bring about powerful change to improve the lives of women everywhere.

Grant Black, Rural Media creative director, has been nominated for best writer for his work on The Willows script.

Alongside Rural Media creative producer, Rachel Lambert who has been nominated in the breakthrough (off screen) category for her directorial work on the short film.

The Willows has also been nominated in the best scripted and acting performance categories.

Vanessa Hehir, who shot opposite her husband Leon in her role as Dawn, recieved an acting performance nomination.

“I’m utterly stunned and ecstatic with a nomination from the Royal Television Society for my part in the The Willows.

“I want to thank all the Rural Media team for trusting me with Dawns story," she said.

Rural Media has also been highlighted for their talent development work.

As well as celebrating nominations in both the best animation and best short-form categories, showcasing two of their BBC New Creatives productions, Silence and Her Roommate and Pub Kid.

Both short films have been created and produced at Rural Media for BBC Arts.

You can watch the full film here: The Willows