Cinema City gets green light to create Screen Heritage Centre in Norwich

Cinema City, Norwich.

Cinema City, Norwich. - Credit: Archant

Lights, camera, action!

Work to build a Screen Heritage Centre at a much-loved Norwich cinema has been given the go-ahead after months of delays.

It would see a new hub created at Cinema City to teach people about the rich film history of East Anglia, with screenings, talks and workshops.

There would also be improved access to transform the space, including a new lift.

The vision for Cinema City secured a grant of more than £500,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) last year, with an original target to open in autumn 2015.

But after complications, including raising match funding and issues on site, the Screen Heritage Centre project was put on hold.

The Cinema City charity is now in a position to go ahead, with the green light from the HLF and work due to begin in February 2016.

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It is hoped that the Screen Heritage Centre will open in Summer 2016.

Costs for the project increased in the interim, but the HLF agreed to put forward more than £40,000 in extra funding to help cover this.

Film education charity Cinema Plus secured the grant.

Philip Easter, chairman of Cinema City, said: 'This is a real boost for both our film education work and for community engagement with our cinema heritage.

'We will be able to expand our education activities and enhance our provision for underserved groups, including young people living with a disability and people living with dementia.

'It will make a real difference to what we can achieve and I would like to thank the HLF for their ongoing support and confidence in our ambitions.'

The total cost of the project is £810,000, with more than £150,000 of match funding from charitable trusts, organisations and individuals.

Norfolk charities, including Norwich Town Close Charity, Geoffrey Watling Charity, John Jarrold Trust and the Paul Bassham Trust, contributed over 90pc of the match funding.

Project director Claire Chapman said: 'We are extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed to this much-welcomed community project, including our partners Picturehouse Cinemas.

'I would particularly like to give a special mention to all the local charities that have given us so much support.'

Sir John Hurt CBE, patron of Cinema City, said: 'It is wonderful that such a fantastic resource will soon exist in my adopted home of Norfolk.

'Film has the ability to touch peoples' lives in a very special way and I am proud to support initiatives such as this that give more people access to film education and our important film heritage.'

The Screen Heritage Centre, designed by local architect Charles Emberson, will host a range of film education-related activities.

In addition the charity will work in partnership with organisations including Equal Lives, Age UK and the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance.

The centre will form part of the wider Norfolk at the Pictures project, which aims to help people learn about film heritage.