Transforming Ageing with Film Classics


I love going to the cinema and so when I was first asked to write a blog about the Red Velvet Cinema I thought great, I can happily witter on about the films I have seen, from those that have made me laugh to those that have had a profound effect.

Yes of course they show films at the RVC, from old Ealing comedy classics such as Passport to Plimlico, the more challenging To Kill and Mockingbird, those that will make you cry like Black Beauty and something uplifting like High Society. But this project is so much more than that. After the film is shown the real activity begins . . . an hour and a half of socialisation and of course the obligatory tea & cake!

The venue is the Devonport Guildhall. I have been there a number of times myself for events. It is a beautifully restored building, brimming with history and well worth a visit in its own right. I must go again, perhaps to the next movie. What’s showing? I’ll take a look at their Facebook page: 

Perhaps it is the old classic films and the iconic actors that invoke memories that stimulate the chatter but whatever it is there is a real buzz around the room and true friendships have been made that now extend beyond the Red Velvet Cinema.

It offers a welcome for, primarily older people, who may be lonely and/or socially isolated, providing companionship and an atmosphere in which friendships can be fostered. There are so many positive outcomes and some lovely stories about how this wonderful charity has literally changed lives. It provides people with something to look forward and reduces their feelings of isolation.

The group has burgeoned beyond the cinema and includes, what they affectionately call ‘school trips’ to places such as: the construction site of the new Museum/Heritage Centre, the waste-to-energy plant, the National Marine Aquarium, the BBC studios and Devonport Dockyard, all within the Plymouth area.

Core funding was received for this project from the Transform Ageing Programme, which aims to identify those that are wanting to start or further develop innovative, community based, social enterprises to help ageing people to find more effective solutions to the challenges they face. The money DCF has granted has helped the project sustain its future in new premises.

Talking of Facebook, there is a challenge doing the rounds at the moment, asking people to post their 10 favourite films over 10 days, each day nominating another friend to do the same. I haven’t been caught yet but secretly hope I might be, as I could probably name them now without too much effort: Lawrence of Arabia, Cabaret, Pay it Forward, Precious, Plunkett & Macleane . . .

Nicola Hobson