The context of all stories are interesting. In this story a small community cinema makes a considerable difference to the lives of people in Carlton Colville.

Carlton Colville is a growing suburb in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Lowestoft is ranked as the most deprived town in Suffolk.  It is in the district of Waveney, which is ranked the 114th most deprived district in the UK.  The area is recognised by the EU, national and regional agencies as demanding economic and social regeneration.  Educational attainment is poor and unemployment is over three times the national average; a A high proportion of families receive state-aided school meals and a high number of people are on low incomes or state benefits.  The cycle of deprivation is compounded by limited job opportunities, low expectations and poor health. The lack of social provision and places for people to meet leads to profound social isolation.

Previously, Carlton Colville had been a small village with a small number of houses. Along with a shop, pub and small post office. Over the last decade several thousand new homes have been built with no additional community provision or increased opportunities for employment

Due to the level of need, in the area Ian Cartwright was commissioned by the Methodist Church to explore, alongside other local groups, how provision for the community could be improved.

This story begins with a community survey. The purpose of the research was to uncover local needs and opportunities for sustainable community development through a range of projects.

Several things where discovered. However, the establishment of a community cinema was achievable especially when 71% of respondents to the survey expressed an interest in the community cinema.

The Methodist Church in the village had recently been refurbished and had invested in quality projection and sound equipment, making the church an ideal venue for a community cinema.

The research collected a list of people who would volunteer for suitable projects. The good news was that the design and inception of a community cinema was an idea that attracted a particularly high number of volunteers.

Also, the head teacher of a local middle school had confirmed that the school had a group of very able students who could help set up the cinema as part of the school’s “gifted and talented student” programme.

The Parish Council, as one of the stakeholders of the research, were interested in supporting the community cinema. As a result they donated £1000 towards set up costs.

The Methodist Church provided the building, insurance and equipment.

The inception of the Carlton Colville Community Cinema was underway. We had a small team of volunteers, a school project, some funding and a suitable venue with equipment.

The team gathered and under the leadership of Ian Cartwright, we arranged our first screening and a plan for the first year. This plan is outlined in the Imagine Guide to Community Cinemas.

During the first year we achieved the following.

  • Number of screenings: 11
  • Number of tickets sold: 625
  • Most popular film: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 95 tickets sold
  • Average attendance at monthly screenings: 60
  • Number of volunteers over the year: 15
  • Monterey value of volunteering over the year 2008/09 based on the minimum wage at the time: £5.50
  • 15 volunteers working on average 5 hours per month each = 75 volunteering hours  per month
  • Annual hours 75 hours x 15 people =1,125 volunteering hours per year
    Total Monterey value per year 2008/09 = £6,187.50
  • Organisations assisted: 6

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