For some people going to the cinema can often be met with many different barriers. Sometimes even the simple fear of the unknown or what lies beyond a doorway can put people off or make them less likely to come and enjoy a place. Barriers are what we want to take down at the Tyneside Cinema and through our Audience Outreach programme we are developing ideas and testing approaches to make coming to the cinema an enjoyment for everyone.
The Cinema has teamed up with 3 organisations in Newcastle. Age UK Newcastle, Friends Action North East (who provide support for adults with additional learning needs) and ReCoCo (the Recovery College Collective),a support service platform for people living with mental health issues.
Volunteers from each of the 3 organisations have attended an induction morning ran by the Cinema. The idea of the induction is to welcome the volunteers to the Tyneside and introduce them to how the Cinema operates on a day to day basis. During the induction volunteers get to know more about the Cinema Buddies project, have a tour of the whole cinema and ask any questions.
After the induction volunteers received a Blue Cinema Buddy Lanyard so they can identify themselves with staff at the Cinema. There are 10 Cinema Buddies active at the moment. Buddies are encouraged to go back out to the users of their service and invite small groups of 3 to 4 people to come and enjoy a film together. Many of the groups may have not been to the cinema before or may face a certain barrier that restricts them in some way. Cinema Buddies will be the friendly face that have been here before and can help their group with any additional needs they may have. Cinema Buddies will go free into a film and the users of the project will pay the normal price, with any concessions they qualify for.
Cinema Buddies will support people to come and enjoy films together, meet new people in a small group and hopefully will feel comfortable coming to the Cinema themselves after a few visits.
For further information on Cinema Buddies please contact the cinemas Audience Outreach Officer chris.anderson@tynesidecinema.co.uk

And we at ReCoCo have 5 buddies trained up, with more on the way. So, if you want to go see a film in one of the region’s foremost cinematic venues, but maybe need some assistance or company in order to go, then get in touch with us at the Recovery College Collective. 
Contact: 0191 261 0948, sarah.hilditch@ntw.nhs.uk