Making Friends project hailed a reel success

Film fun: Manal and family.
Film fun: Manal and family.

the Community Foundation for Calderdale is currently working with the Friends of Hebden Bridge Picture House on its new ‘Making Friends’ project.

Making Friends is an initiative that runs cinema trips for members of the refugee and asylum seeker community across Calderdale.

The scheme provides transport costs, cinema tickets and refreshments for a monthly screening at Hebden Bridge Picture House.

The choice of films are made in collaboration with the refugees and asylum seekers themselves.

Members of the Friends of the Picture House volunteer their help with the planning of the trips and ensure they run smoothly.

Rebekah Fozard, manager of Hebden Bridge Picture House, said: “I am delighted that the Friends have succeeded in obtaining this grant to continue the great project they initiated last year.

“The cinema already supports registered asylum seekers with free cinema entry, but has been unable to extend this scheme to large groups of visitors or to make travel arrangements, so the Making Friends scheme is a really welcome way to introduce new customers to our friendly cinema.”

The first trip saw 20 people watch Paddington 2. The event was declared a success with attendees, who were from a range of countries including Syria, Lebanon, Guinea and Afghanistan, enjoying the experience.

One attendee Manal said: “You have brought smiles into the faces of so many children.”

Another, Momadu, who had never been to the cinema before, said: “This is my first time. I liked being with others.”

Moya O’Donnell, a member of the Friends committee, said: “This event succeeded unreservedly. The magic of cinema and the sharing of the experience won through the differences between people.”