Textile leaders in Yorkshire have secured £1 million in Government funding for an initiative aimed at securing the future of their industry.

The Textiles Regional Innovation Strategy Board has been awarded the money by the regional development agency - Yorkshire Forward. It follows the publication of a report by the board which showed that the industry still employed 30,000 people in the region and was worth £3 billion a year to the economy - despite a gradual decline over many years.

In the light of the report, the board drew up an action plan designed to arrest the decline of the industry and encourage the growth of new business in textiles and clothing. The plan was dependent on funding from Yorkshire Forward and that funding has now been approved by the development agency.

The bulk of the money will be used in three key areas. Most ambitious is the establishment of an incubation unit to help create new textile companies. Over the next three years 12 design graduates will be selected each year for support in establishing new design-led businesses. It is envisaged that the development of successful design companies will generate spin-offs for other companies involved in textiles.

Part of the funding will be spent on a 'shared services centre' - a type of Citizens' Advice Bureau that will provide the industry with help and advice on a wide range of problems, including fundraising and red tape. Money will also be spent on helping companies invest in hi-tech equipment - particularly the type of equipment needed to meet increasingly stringent environmental demands.