Wickham Market Movies receives Lottery funding for new village hall cinema

Members of the Wickham Market Movies group outside the Village Hall

Members of the Wickham Market Movies group outside the Village Hall - Credit: Archant

Movie fans in an east Suffolk village will be able to enjoy the splendour of the silver screen much closer to home after proposals to set up a new pop-up cinema received funding approval.

Wickham Market Movies, the group which is leading the project, has been given £10,000 from the National Lottery, £600 by Suffolk Coastal District Council and a further sum from an anonymous donor.

The funding will pay for a 12ft motorised, retractable screen to be installed in the village hall’s ceiling along with a high-definition projector.

The remaining cash will pay for a new fridge-freezer so ice creams and other refreshments can be served to the movie-goers, while the council’s grant will go towards black-out curtains.

Pete Holden, who first devised the idea last May, and recruited a group of 10 fellow film fans to submit the applications, said he was “delighted” with the announcement.

“We found out that we got both grants approved, which is really great,” he added.

“The intention is to show movies for the people of Wickham Market but it will also be for the various groups and organisations to use if they need to show a film.

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“It’s going to be a great addition to the village to have something locally, particularly for some of the older people, as public transport makes it difficult to get out to neighbouring towns in the evening.

“This will be an ideal opportunity for people to be able to get out and watch a film without needing to get on a bus. We hope it will appeal to all ages of people.”

Mr Holden, 70, also takes bookings for the village hall, and part of his inspiration behind the project is to make fuller use of the building.

Once the equipment has arrived and the volunteers receive their training, it is hoped the first screening can be held by May.

Initially, they will be organised on an ad-hoc basis to fit in around other events and bookings, but eventually Mr Holden is hoping to have a regular film night, with matinee screenings too.

Discussions have been held with distributors which deal predominantly with community cinema schemes and the group hopes to be able to screen a mixture of blockbuster releases, special interest films and re-released classics.

News of the group’s success has been welcomed in the village.

Wickham Market Town Team shared the announcement on Facebook.

“Congratulations to those involved in the Lottery application and watch this space,” the group said.

Byan Hall, Wickham Market’s district councillor, added his praise.

“Pete and his team have done a sterling job,” he said.

“It’s a good move for the community, which seems to be growing in confidence and doing more and more things, which this sort of thing just exemplifies.”

Final details about the scheme are yet to be decided, but it is envisaged that ticket prices will be about £4.50.

Anyone who is interested in becoming involved with this project is asked to contact Mr Holden on 01728 747229.

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