How Warrington Youth Club 'Buddy Up' system created a film club family

14 Jun 2016 BY Nuvvy Sibia

3 mins
Warrington Youth Club with Michael Sheen at the Into Film Awards
Warrington Youth Club with Michael Sheen at the Into Film Awards

Warrington Youth Club has been established for over 60 years, and supports over 2,000 children and young people each week across the Warrington area.

Together with our Open Access Youth Club, which promotes full inclusivity, we run various projects including our Buddy Up initiative - a Children In Need funded project which aims to support children and young people with disabilities who are at severe risk of becoming socially isolated. A volunteer Buddy supports each young person within a social setting with areas such as confidence, self-esteem and social skills.

The Buddy Up Family Film Club

Our film club is an 'add on' of the Buddy Up project. It began in Summer 2013 and has really taken off since March 2014 when we started working with Into Film.

The club is open to everyone and particularly aims to offer children and young people with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy film and cinema in a safe and fun environment. It is also open to siblings, friends, parents and carers, with the intention of promoting a family/ community feel. The majority of our members do have a disability and have been able to forge a new friendship group through film club.

Our club is unique in that it is run and managed by two young people, supported by myself as club leader. One of the young people (Zak) was initially a beneficiary of the Buddy Up project, with me as his 'Buddy'. Zak has embraced the film club and has found that running it for his peers is a great support mechanism which has given him a real sense of purpose in life. Almost 12 months ago, due to the increase in members and popularity of the club, Zak asked his best friend Kyle to get involved. The club has since gone from strength to strength, with more members joining and meetings held twice a month as opposed to monthly.

If you are going through troubles; we are open for everyone. Film has helped us so much, its brought us together. This is the message we want to show to our members -we are like one big family.

Zak and Kyle, Into Film Club members

There has also been an increase in themed events such as Christmas and Halloween nights. 2016 will see Warrington Youth Club hold its second 'Oscars Film Night', with awards, glitz, food and magic! Last year the event was supported by a local catering company, Jaspers, and this year the evening will be supported by The Village Hotel (Warrington), where all young people will be provided with a courtesy Oscars-style gift bag.

The club evenings run by Zak and Kyle are vibrant and fun. To cater for our members we show more of the popular films, predominately Pixar or Disney animations, together with other Box Office hits, such as the Avengers franchise. One of our most popular titles was Big Hero 6. We recently watched Inside Out, which was very poignant, as many of our members struggle to convey their emotions.

At the end of each evening, the audience is given a choice of two films to vote for, and the one with the highest number of votes is the next film shown.

So what's the future for the Buddy Up Film Club? We'll continue to grow and develop, we have never charged our members and have no plans to do so. I am looking forward to strengthening our relationship with Into Film, whilst at the same time working with local businesses so the young people we support can continue to enjoy the magic of cinema with their peers.

Buddy Up Co-ordinator

Nuvvy Sibia, Film club leader and Buddy Up Co-ordinator

Nuvvy Sibia’s began volunteering with Warrington Youth Club in 2010 and since 2014 has been employed as the Buddy Up Co-ordinator with responsibility for all aspects of the project including the Buddy Up Cinema Nights

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