When people speak of going to the cinema, many think of watching movies on big screens and the high price to pay for the experience.
However, the cinema should not just be the place to experience films on big screens – it is about the people you go with and the shared experience. At least, that’s the case with Jam Jar Cinema.
Inspired by locals in Whitley Bay who could not afford to see films at the cinema, Dan Ellis set up a thriving community hub where a diverse group of people, regardless of financial background can meet up and enjoy movies together.
With the help of volunteers and the support from Star People, the Jam Jar Cinema was born. The name comes from history- as back in 1930 children of Tyneside swapped jam jars for movie tickets.
Jam Jar Cinema offers more than just films. There are many volunteering opportunities to help out in the café and ticket box, and once a month, the cinema hosts a film quiz.
The community have the opportunity to do something meaningful through Jam Jar Cinema, since it is entirely charitable. All profits are reinvested in education programmes and profits also go to help isolated people in the community.
The screening of I, Daniel Blake was thought to be the most profound screening, especially when the lead actor, Dave Johns paid a visit to the cinema.
“It’s (the screening) been met by two responses. A round of applause or stunned silence.”
Thinking of starting a socially minded project or organisation? Dan Ellis has a message of support for social entrepreneurs:
“For me a bigger fear is living with regret. But take your time, get as much help and advice as you can. Listen to other people, but go with your gut and remember it is up to you whether you start small or jump in with both feet, but you need to know how to manage both success and failure. And don’t be afraid to ask for help!”