Community Articles

Major Cash Boost to Cinema Campaign
Two major grants totalling £47,000 have given the biggest boost yet to the community campaign to re-open the cinema in Wotton-under-Edge.

Jubilant campaigners say they will use the money to pay for further improvements to the fabric of the building – ahead of the opening of the Electric Picture House planned for the autumn.

Electric Picture House

Stroud District Council’s grant of £32,000 from its 2005/6 Capital Investment Programme is the biggest donation so far to the cinema fund, while the £15,000 awarded by the Gloucestershire Rural Renaissance Scheme (sponsored by the South West Regional Development Agency) takes the overall total raised to well over £120,000.

Jeff Walshe, chairman of the cinema fundraising group, said: "This is fantastic news and we are extremely grateful to the District Council and to those running the Rural Renaissance Scheme.

"We had already raised enough money to do the basics and get the cinema opened again – our Phase I project. But as a result of these two grants, we can go ahead with Phases II and III when the builders move in during April. That means we can improve disabled access, modernise the heating system to include air-conditioning, and enhance many other features in the auditorium and box-office area.

"These improvements will add up to a much better experience for future cinema-goers in Wotton," added Jeff.

Stroud District Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Nigel Studdert-Kennedy, who heads the authority’s regeneration and tourism work, said: "I am pleased that we have been able to support this project and hope that the community will realise its full potential. I congratulate all involved on their hard work and look forward to Wotton having a cinema again."

Claire Caffall, Scheme Manager for the Gloucestershire Rural Renaissance Scheme said: "The bid for Rural Renaissance funds was considered to represent a novel & highly innovative proposal, demonstrating particular commitment and enterprise on the part of a small community co-operative. As the first community initiative to receive support from the Scheme’s Small Project Fund, the Electric Cinema project has set a high standard for other community groups to follow."

The community cinema project has now received three major grants over the last few months, having also been awarded nearly £30,000 by the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust in November 2004.

"I am delighted that we have had such significant financial support from organisations at district, county and regional level. Most of our financial targets are now met, though we are continuing to fund-raise for ongoing running costs and better equipment. For example, we are now hoping for further support from Wotton Town Council’s 2005/06 budget, so that we can invest in a high-specification sound system," said Jeff, who added that more fundraising events planned for this year.

The community cinema group was formed only weeks after the previous managers of the cinema suddenly closed it in the autumn of 2002. The new management target is to open in September, showing quality modern and classic films from DVD/VHS. The multi-media facility will also be flexible enough to be used for other forms of entertainment and for business events.

Press Release Issued by Wotton Electric Picture House Ltd

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