Ciaran and the film club

Ciaran lives in Warrington. He is a huge film fan and enjoys watching and reviewing films across all genres. He is a member of a local social group, talked to other members about his passion for film and told them that he would like to share his knowledge with others.

I want to share my passion for film with the community

Ciaran and the film club

He knew that watching films and buying drinks and snacks at a mainstream cinema is expensive and that this can make it inaccessible for people who don’t have much money. He also knew from personal experience that going to the cinema can be challenging for some autistic people.

In the cinema the sound can be very loud. When I was younger, I used to be really scared…I would put my fingers in my ears

Ciaran thought that he could combine his knowledge, passion and experience to solve a problem faced by autistic people in his home town of Warrington.

I thought that people with autism need their own film club. A safe space where people can see each other and enjoy themselves

A few months before the start of the film club Ciaran had linked with a local project called Great Communities, run by charity MacIntyre. The project aims to support people to explore their passions and skills and use them to benefit their wider community.

Pete (from Great Communities) and I had a discussion. I told him I would like to set up an autism friendly film club and he said he would help me

Pete and Ciaran worked together to develop a plan, thinking through everything that would need to be done including finding a venue, getting the equipment, planning themes for films to be shown, finding club members and managing club nights. They identified a venue, a local community centre with a suitable hall and all the necessary equipment. Once the venue had been
secured Ciaran began to learn how to use the equipment.

I needed to learn new skills

The club now has 15 members and is really successful. Ciaran makes no charge to club members and even offers refreshments free of charge in order to make sure the club is accessible even to people who have limited funds.

What helped?

Finding a venue that would work well for the club and already had the necessary equipment.

It was a perfect venue. James showed me round. He helped me learn how to use the equipment

Pete and the Great Communities project supported Ciaran to turn his passion into an idea and his idea into something real.

Pete has been a great help

Supportive members have also helped the club become an early success. The local Coop provide popcorn for club members.

Challenges

Ciaran faced an early challenge thinking through license issues and taking advice from a similar club in another area. Finding money to fund the venue costs was also an early challenge. Ciaran faced personal challenges that he has worked hard to overcome.

At the start I found it hard to pick the themes and the films and to set everything up. It is a big responsibility

Achievements and impact

Ciaran has had positive feedback from members.

I think it has been successful. I got good turn outs. People said they enjoyed themselves and that they would come back

He has learned new skills and gained confidence.

I was very nervous in the first one but ever since the second session my confidence grew. I just introduced the film to everyone

The club has brought people together and friendships have been formed. People who would not be able to afford to go to the cinema have been able to join in.

Some people don’t have money. This gives them an opportunity to see quality films for free

The future

Ciaran would like the film club to continue and develop with more themes and different genres of film being explored.

I would like members to keep on coming. I would like to provide more insight into each film and build on the reviews

In the future Ciaran would like to get a job working in the cinema.

I would love to share my knowledge of film to cinema goers

Ciaran and Pete from Great Communities have also come up with a new idea – to take the film club concept to other areas with Ciaran mentoring and advising film fans who might want to become film club founders.

I could talk to them about it. I would like people to know what I have been doing. I could help them learn