Scottish foodbank first in UK to bring movie nights to families

A family night out to the cinema to see the latest blockbuster can be a pricey affair with the cost of tickets alone, never mind the 'pester-power add-ons' from children wanting popcorn and hotdogs.

Craig Crosthwaite sells popcorn to help fund the film screenings. Picture: John Devlin
Craig Crosthwaite sells popcorn to help fund the film screenings. Picture: John Devlin

But now a Scottish foodbank is offering free Saturday night film nights to cash-strapped families in one of Scotland’s most deprived areas.

The foodbank, which received a grant from the North Ayrshire Venture Trust for equipment, is believed to be the first in the UK to run a mobile cinema.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Film fanatic Craig Crosthwaite, co-ordinator of the North Ayrshire Foodbank, is attracting audiences of up to 200 people to see films ranging from Dr Strange, Casablanca, Beauty And The Beast, and The BFG.

Next month Crosthwaite is hosting the “Reach for the Stars” weekend which will see the foodbank cinema taking part in UN World Space week.

The weekend at the Ardrossan Church of the Nazarene over 6-7 October will feature two sci-film films, guest speakers led by Professor John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, the Cosmos mobile planetarium shows and space-themed workshops.

Crosthwaite said extending the foodbank to include the cinema and now an educational role was the ideal way to reach children and adults who might otherwise be excluded from activities others take for granted. “Cinemas charge about £8 or £9 for an adult ticket, then there’s actually paying fares to get there means the cost goes way up for families.

“This type of expenditure is outwith the budget of all the people we see in the foodbank. A lot of them say they’ve not been able to go to a cinema for years.

“But it’s not right they’re excluded from all the cultural experiences the Scottish Government say should be everyone’s right.”

Popcorn and hotdogs sold for £1 help fund the cinema.

Brown, who will speak about Largs-born astronomer Sir Thomas Brisbane (1773-1860) and Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), blasted Westminster austerity cuts which he said left people in poverty.

Brown said: “It’s great North Ayrshire Foodbank is taking the opportunity to bring a lot of science to an area which doesn’t get much of that.

“For the kids and adults to get the chance to hear some forefront science is really exciting and it may well reach out to future aspiring scientists in the audience.

“But it’s a sad state of affairs there are people without enough food in their bellies. All we hear from Westminster is the need to reduce benefits and spending. While I admire what the SNP government are doing to tackle this appalling situation, we see queues at foodbanks despite their best efforts.”