Senior Volunteer Army formed to help save Wolverhampton cinema.
A ‘senior army’ of volunteers passionate about a Wolverhampton venue has formed a support group to help Light House Cinema and Café Bar in the city’s Chubb Buildings.
A group of members of the University of the Third Age gathered at the venue for a meeting with cinema management at the end of the summer, saying they wanted to help fundraise and boost marketing and attendance at Light House, which is facing closure after grant cuts.
CEO Kelly Jeffs and her team have been liaising with a fifty-two strong group to form a rota of activities, designed to utilise front of house and co-ordination skills, improve service and bring in valuable fundraising ideas.
The volunteers will be stewarding the films, offering ‘usherette’ style refreshments at busy screenings, helping to run the Friends of Light House membership, taking programmes to new outlets and approaching sponsors for support.
“The skills being offered by these supporters, many of whom are U3A members, are ideal for what we need here at Light House,” said project co-ordinator Julie Rennison.
“Many of the group worked in marketing and business before retiring, they’re super-organised and are great at meeting and greeting customers. They have a very keen interest in contemporary film and live events such as opera and National Theatre Live. Their contribution as a ‘volunteer army’ will make a huge impact on our service, especially during busy screenings.”
U3A describes itself as a movement dedicated to learning in groups with like-minded people at a time of life when full-time work has finished. Its website defines The Third Age as “a time in your life where you have the opportunity to undertake learning for its own sake. There is no minimum age, but a focus on people who are no longer in full-time employment or raising a family”.
Many local U3A members regularly attend Light House, and are determined to help keep the cultural venue open. One U3A couple from the city held a Soup and Cheese fundraising lunch last Thursday, raising £420. Further charity events are planned by the volunteers including film meetups.
CEO Kelly Jeffs commented, “Although we have a long way to go to fill the funding void caused by the cuts, we have more customers than ever, in fact we’re growing at a rate much higher than the rest of the UK cinema market. With additional help to spread the word to potential partners and sponsors and a push to increase public awareness and donations, we will have some breathing space to build on this growth.”