Over 1000 people attended a season of monthly relaxed film screenings from September 2015- February 2016. Films were chosen from a shortlist produced by project partners Bexhill Dementia Action Alliance. Professional actress Suzy Harvey devised props and actions enabling audiences to engage more deeply with the film, identifying film tropes and making the film more 3-dimensional.
There is no cinema in Bexhill on Sea. The free, matinee screenings at regular intervals enhanced opportunities for older audiences at risk of isolation, adults with learning disabilities and home schooled children to engage with films. We had not anticipated home schooled children attending, but one parent of children who attended regularly, explained that she wanted her children to respect and value diversity, and attending these screenings helped them to feel part of a wider community.
The Musical Matinee Club project has enabled DLWP to develop a new strand of programming, develop new audiences and a new partnerships with Bexhill Dementia Action Alliance and East Sussex County Council's Engagement and Equality Officer.
Expand cinema choice for marginalised local people
Offer social encounters reducing the risk of isolation.
Adopt best practice in working with people living with dementia.
Provide information about and links to care initiatives and services.
To work in partnership with Bexhill Dementia Action Alliance, Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council’s Engagement and Equality Officer.
Inter-group dialogue and understanding improved
We brought film to hard to reach audiences in an area without a local cinema
Increased community empowerment and social capital through the awareness of external services
Musical Matinees contributed towards mental well-being
There was increased empathy and motivation, and a deeper understanding about dementia and dementia care (amongst audiences and DLWP staff)
Wizard of Oz Singalong, Calamity Jane, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Carousel, There’s no Business like Show Business
Bexhill Dementia Action Alliance; Rother District Council; East Sussex County Council’s Engagement and Equality Officer
Budget in brief
Overall budget £7,500. Support of £5,000 from Film Hub South East plus box office and in-kind contribution. Subsidy per head £7.50.
Improving inter-group dialogue and understanding.
Bringing film to hard to reach audiences in an area without a local cinema.
Building the capacity of a local voluntary group through work with DLWP programmers and fundraiser to develop infrastructure and vision for future projects and funding bids.
Enabling community empowerment and social capital through the awareness of external services.
Increasing empathy and motivation (amongst audiences and DLWP staff).
Providing a deeper understanding about how cultural organisations operate (amongst partners).
Contributing towards mental well-being.
Providing a deeper understanding about dementia and dementia care (amongst DLWP staff).
Improving attitudes towards the organisation by building reputation as an accessible and Dementia Friendly organisation.
What has been difficult
The bid budget could have been better developed to include a number of actual costs e.g. project management for planning, evaluation and reporting, or tech team fees to remove all side terrace seating required for the additional number of wheelchair users.
The limits of budget meant we could only contract the expert facilitator Suzy Harvey to enhance 3 of the 6 screenings, and her absence was felt by audiences and staff alike. We had set an expectation for some audience members who really valued the interactions she provided.
The cost of Film Licenses, refreshments, props and stewards (acting as fire marshalls) limits us to a maximum capacity of 200 people. However we have 1500 seats in the Auditorium. The empty seats caused some confusion, misunderstanding and disappointment for groups and individuals who cannot book a ticket. This was managed by updating information on the website and explaining the limits to audiences during the welcome/introduction to each screening.
The FHSE Audience Survey format was not suitable for the majority of our audiences. Of the 1058 visits we had just 125 Audience Surveys returned. Even though it was a relatively small percentage we had not anticipated the time it would take to collate and analyse the feedback.
What you would do differently if you did it again
Having learnt what the actual costs are, we are in a better place to construct budgets and scale up for proposals for the next phase.
We will revise feedback methods for proposals for the next phase.
We will share responsibility across partners for the evaluation, monitoring and reporting
The Musical Matinees enhanced opportunities for older audiences at risk of isolation, adults with learning disabilities and home schooled children to engage with films. As well as bringing film to hard to reach audiences in an area without a local cinema, we were able to build the capacity of a local voluntary group through work with DLWP programmers and fundraiser to develop infrastructure and vision for future projects and funding bids and better empower the community by raising awareness of external services.
The scheme increased empathy and motivation, among both audiences and DLWP staff, and contributed to the mental well-being of audiences.
What audiences said
I am new to Bexhill and think this is a marvellous event.
The experience is wonderful, we are so lucky in Bexhill to have the wonderful De La Warr and for giving this film network to the people who need care or are carers. Thank you so much.
Well organised, I'm sure appreciated by many. An opportunity to see a well-loved musical - a shame they don't make them like this anymore.
What professionals, press and partners said
I have taken my residents from 2 Coastcare homes to DLWP to all afternoon musicals which have been amazing.
It would be lovely to have this type of event on in the morning ad my service user has to return home by 3.30pm. I think the local schools could also attend.
Lovely atmosphere, great experience for people living with dementia. The past four films have been very enjoyable and it’s such a great experience for dementia
We would be happy to pay for the films, as our clients have looked forward to this every month. I really hope that this continues.