Funding boost to help revitalise town cinema

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Campbeltown Picture House (CPH) is one of less than 30 independent Scottish cinemas to receive funding to help stabilise, rebuild and revitalise the industry.

Campbeltown Community Business (CCB), which owns and operates the cinema, has been awarded £67,465 from the Scottish Government through Screen Scotland’s Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas.

The £3.19 million fund supports new activity and initiatives that help address the fundamental shifts to the industry brought about by Covid-19.

Sid Gallagher, chairman of CCB, said the board of directors was ‘delighted’ to be successful in its funding bid and thankful not only for the financial assistance but also for the support and guidance offered throughout this and other processes.

He added: ‘We are deeply indebted to CPH manager Ellen Mainwood and the team at the cinema for obtaining the funding by making a well-thought-out application.

‘They have put together a collection of ideas and strategies that will ensure a vibrant cinema scene in Campbeltown to get people coming to the pictures more frequently or perhaps for the first time.

‘New activities will include some calculated risks in the form of more independent, archive and foreign language films; what is called ‘strand programming’.

‘There is still a commitment to obtaining mainstream films on release and the funding will assist with this.

‘We have a target to increase attendance at mainstream films by 25 per cent by 2025 and hope this will be well advanced within the funding period.’

Mr Gallagher added that the cinema’s new booking system, which was financed by the funding, will help staff keep in better contact with customers, allowing them to share news of interesting programming and offers, including a new loyalty scheme.

‘Through the funding, we will be able to support staff with training programmes and flexible and increased working hours,’ he added. ‘Overall, it is a great package with lots of positives.’

Sambrooke Scott, head of audience development at Screen Scotland, said: ‘Scotland has a marvellously unique cohort of independent cinemas serving communities across the country, from historic purpose-built venues to arts centres and multi-screen cinemas.

‘Despite facing unprecedented challenges as we adapt to living with Covid, they have continued to provide vital cultural, social and economic hubs for the towns and cities they serve.

‘This fund will ensure they are able to continue that work and make vital changes to welcome cinema-goers back, to reach new audiences and future generations to come.’

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: ‘We’re delighted to support independent cinemas across the country to build back and adapt their businesses in the light of the challenges faced by the industry throughout the Covid pandemic.

‘Local cinemas are a focal point for communities and these funds will help them to develop new activities to re-engage with, and grow, their audiences.’

Mr Gallagher added: ‘We are extremely lucky in Campbeltown to have a local picture house, especially one that is so distinctive and historic.

‘The funding will help CPH to keep providing great films and comfort to everyone. Please come out and support us. We need people’s interest and, most of all, custom.’