Video: Actor John Hurt urges people to support the Norfolk at the Pictures project at Cinema City

PUBLISHED: 14:25 20 February 2014 | UPDATED: 18:03 20 February 2014

John Hurt launches a £50,000 appeal for the creation of a new accessible education facility at Cinema City which will benefit local people like Ruth Cordle from Equal Lives Youth Forum.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

John Hurt launches a £50,000 appeal for the creation of a new accessible education facility at Cinema City which will benefit local people like Ruth Cordle from Equal Lives Youth Forum. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Archant Norfolk.

Actor John Hurt is encouraging people to get behind an appeal to raise £50,000 for the Norfolk at the Pictures project at Cinema City.

Wide range of people to benefit

A wide range of people are set to benefit from the new facilities planned for Cinema City.

Maggie Wheeler, Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance chairman, said: “Going to the cinema can be therapeutic as well as fun. It may enable people with dementia to unlock their memories and talk about things they may not otherwise be able to talk about.”

She said that there were plans for special dementia resource packs to support cinema visits and that the increased accessibility would be a huge benefit.

Equal Lives Youth Forum, a group of young disabled people who work together to develop skills, become more independent and have fun, will also use the new facilities. Forum member Ruth Cordle, 22, from Mattishall, said the lift would help the forum members who have wheelchairs, and she said she was looking forward to being able to use the centre’s computers and technology.

The Oscar nominated star and north Norfolk resident was at the Norwich cinema today to launch the fundraising campaign which aims to help pay for new accessible education and community facilities within the planned Screen Heritage Centre.

A decision is also due next month on a much hoped for £500,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant and this would also be used for the project.

Mr Hurt is patron of the charity Cinema Plus, the education arm of Norfolk and Norwich Film Theatre Ltd which founded Cinema City in 1978 and which is leading the Norfolk at the Pictures project.

“All we are trying to raise is £50,000, it’s not a lot, it really isn’t a lot, particularly if people understand the importance of it,” he said.

“The money is going towards the facilities that are kind of here but they need quite a lot of things doing to them in order that you can get wheelchairs in and that sort of thing. It [the building] needs a lift and the floor is being changed as well. It’s actually quite a big job. It won’t look as though there’s been a huge amount done when it’s finished, because it will still have the same really beautiful feeling about the building, but it will be considerably more useful.”

When asked why it was important to give as many people as possible the chance to enjoy cinema, he said: “Cinema has become very much a part of our lives and it’s an educational tool apart from anything else as well as being something which is a pleasure and something you can enjoy.”

Norfolk at the Pictures seeks to involve cinema-goers in a programme of events and activities to capture and share cinema history. The Screen Heritage Centre is key to the project and will transform an outdated and difficult to reach education space into a hub for learning, exhibitions and community use. A new entrance and lift in the Cinema City courtyard, together with better facilities and equipment, will enable Cinema Plus to hold more activities including education workshops, film discussion groups, training sessions for community groups and reminiscence sessions for people living with dementia, as well as show exhibitions exploring Norfolk’s cinema heritage.

• To donate funds visit

• Do you have a story about an arts project in Norwich? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at



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