Community Cinema RedcarCommunity Cohesion | Employment/Training | Health and Wellbeing | Isolation/Loneliness | Place-based Approaches | Poverty | Young People
What is the project?
A community cinema in the North East area of Redcar and Cleveland has been bringing local people together to enjoy films while teaching them about the services offered by their neighbourhood housing association, Beyond Housing, as well as other local organisations.
The cinema provides affordable £2 tickets to all locals, as well as drinks and snacks for 20p. At one of its first event in October, at the Corus Sports and Social Centre in Dormanstown, Redcar, nearly 20 people came to watch Toy Story 4.
Who is the project targeted at?
The cinema is targeted at Beyond Housing residents, as a way of informing them about local services, as well as the wider community.
Why did the project come about?
The community cinema came out of Beyond Housing’s partnership with East Cleveland Arts. Over a 6-week period in summer 2019 the community interest company ran a film festival where they showed blockbuster movies. Since it was in the local area, Beyond Housing caught onto the idea and decided to give the small company the boost of having a big organisation involved with more resources and networking abilities.
There’s the context, too. In Redcar and its surrounding area there are high levels of deprivation and over the past few years many cinemas have shut down or relocated. Others bigger cinemas, such as those in Middlesborough, are difficult to get to by public transport or unaffordable for low income earners. Beyond Housing’s project was born out of a need and desire to bring back a local and affordable cinema space to Redcar.
How was this project implemented?
Community Stepping-Stones, a local cafe, whose underlying purpose is to help people with additional needs get back into work, has been selling tickets for the cinema and in doing so, has encouraged people in the local community to connect and talk to each other more just by stepping through its door.
The cinema’s wide-reaching impact has also been because of the various partnerships that Beyond Housing have been building through the project. As well as East Cleveland Arts, Beyond Housing has partnered with Youth Focus North East, a charity that works across the region to improve the lives of young people, Community Health, which promotes health and wellbeing in the local community, and Routes to Work, a government-funded scheme which supports those looking for work in Redcar and Cleveland. Before the film screenings organisations like these have a chance to directly engage with residents about the services available in their areas through various stalls.
At previous screenings, Beyond Housing have run a Me and My Home stall, where housing association staff sit down with local people to explain to them how their app works, through which residents can book repairs and see their rent statements. By encouraging regular checking of their accounts, Beyond Housing hopes to empower residents to take charge of their own finances. On top of this tenants and non-tenants are invited to sign up to Beyond Housing’s newsletter for chance to win a £25 voucher.
At the screening in November, Youth Focus North East ran a workshop on making forkys (a character from Toy Story), Community Health ran a pick n mix stall selling healthy popcorn decorated with granola and bits of dried fruit, and Routes to Work ran a free raffle.
How was this project funded?
Beyond Housing have covered the core costs of the cinema through their social value procurement scheme, with all money raised from ticket sales going back into East Cleveland Arts.
Outcomes so far
From the perspective of Beyond’s staff, the community cinema has been a great experience in getting out of the office to meet the community and show them that we’re there to support them,” says Crooks.
Ultimately, what Beyond Housing and their partners are trying to do is build a network for the communities to do it for themselves. As well as self-sustainment, their community outreach through the cinema is about renewing and rebuilding trust between residents, service providers and community groups.
Another success has been the interest in the cinema from local councillors, relationships which Beyond hope will continue to develop as awareness of the cinema grows.
The community cinema has started its next round of films, with 12 showings of Frozen 2 starting on 6 March.
There are also plans to do autism friendly screenings where carers would go for free. These would be more relaxed with arts and crafts activities and no structured seating area, making it a more informal environment. While East Cleveland Arts already do dementia friendly screenings, Beyond Housing hope to be able to make the cinema even more accessible in the future.