CalMac boost for town’s ‘Cans’ Film Festival

Sophie Galbraith and Emma Ramsay handing tins for the food bank to cinema staff member Jamie Field at the 2020 festival.
During 'Cans' Film Festival, cinemagoers exchange items for Kintyre Food Bank for a movie tickets. Here, Sophie Galbraith and Emma Ramsay hand tins of food to cinema staff member Jamie Field at the 2020 festival.

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Campbeltown Picture House’s ‘Cans’ Film Festival is one of 59 charity initiatives across Scotland to receive an award of up to £2,000 in the next round of the CalMac Community Fund.

The ferry company’s fund aims to benefit the lives of people living across the ferry network by helping groups working to provide community services to achieve their goals.

The latest round of the fund, delivered in partnership with Foundation Scotland, welcomed applications from west coast community groups addressing mental health, improved well-being and social isolation including encouraging re-engagement with community activity.

An award from the fund will support the ‘Cans’ Film Festival, launched by Campbeltown Picture House two years ago to boost Kintyre Food Bank’s reserves.

The premise of the event, with its name inspired by the world-famous Cannes Film Festival, is simple – instead of paying for a ticket with money, cinemagoers exchange items for the food bank for a seat.

Cinema manager Ellen Mainwood said: ‘We’re so grateful to the CalMac Community Fund for making the ‘Cans’ Film Festival possible.

‘Four screenings of films where tickets are paid for with groceries will see the Kintyre Food Bank well stocked!’

The CalMac Community Fund will also allow Tarbert Soup Group to continue operating its weekly lunch club for older people living in Tarbert and the surrounding area for 12 months, benefitting more than 30 people aged between 60 and 95.

‘We are delighted that we are being supported by the CalMac Community Fund,’ said Heather Bellshaw of Tarbert Soup Group. ‘This award really means a lot to us.

‘We are a lifeline for many elderly, lonely and isolated people. We love providing freshly prepared soups and puddings, bakery and access to our community food bank; this ensures no one need choose between heating or eating!

‘It increases well-being and encourages active healthy lifestyles each week.’

CalMac will also enable Islay and Jura Community Enterprises to deliver pool therapy sessions for children with additional needs.

‘The award will enable 15 additional support needs children and their families to access dedicated swimming pool sessions at the award-winning Mactaggart Leisure Centre on Islay,’ said Gary Scott of Islay and Jura Enterprises.

‘The increased social contact, development of new skills and increased physical activity levels aim to improve mental and physical health following the pandemic and associated restrictions.’

Other groups to receive funding include Islay and Jura Community Enterprises Ltd, Islay and Jura Community Piping and Drumming Club and Bruichladdich Hall Committee.

Since its launch in 2019, the CalMac Community Fund has helped 195 groups to deliver health and wellbeing outcomes including improved mental health, improved self-esteem and increased physical activity; social and community outcomes including greater access to local community and social activities, development of new friendships and development of new life skills; education and skills outcomes including improved teamwork and communication; and employment and volunteering outcomes including the generation of 903 volunteering hours.

Projects supported by the fund have engaged with more than 4,500 people and recent research has forecasted that for every pound awarded through the CalMac Community Fund, communities benefit from a social return of £7.32. It is expected to deliver £965,467.88 of value over two years.

CalMac became the first Scottish company to be awarded a Level 2 Social Value Quality Mark in recognition of the CalMac Community Fund.

Gordon McKillop, CalMac’s corporate social responsibility manager, said: ‘The CalMac Community Fund was created to make a difference for our communities and customers, and we are continuing to see its impact and value.

‘We are excited to see the benefits from the projects we have supported this year.’

Helen Wray, head of programmes at Foundation Scotland, which supported Scottish communities and their projects, added: ‘Foundation Scotland is delighted to work in partnership with CalMac to help manage its community fund.

‘We were truly inspired by the high number and quality of applications last year. This is a real demonstration of how many charitable groups are working at the grassroots of our communities to help and support local residents with vital services and activities.

‘The impact funding like this can have for these groups can be significant, all thanks to the CalMac Community Fund.’

Visit to find more information about the successful projects.