“They absolutely love it, and they always ask me when the next one is”

“They absolutely love it, and they always ask me when the next one is”
3rd May 2019 Amanda Bhavnani
Yvonne Warren

Yvonne Warren is a Greenfields resident who volunteers on our Greenfields Resident Group North. This year they funded £1,500 to the Empire Theatre in Halstead to provide monthly dementia-friendly cinema sessions to the community:

“I began working at the Empire Theatre in the 80s, when it opened as a cinema. I was an usherette on Saturdays, serving tubs of ice cream with wooden spoons at intervals and showing people to their seats with a torch. Times have changed since then!

Three years ago I went back to the theatre to volunteer, and my favourite time is now the second Thursday of the month.  This is when the other committee members of Greenfields Resident Group North come in to help us to run Dementia-Friendly Cinema sessions. We’re all having a great time so far, with the project kicking off with Mamma Mia! Here we go again in February.

Each showing begins with a Meet and Greet for the volunteers and anyone coming along to see the film. Cake, tea, coffee, juice and biscuits are available throughout.

We then all watch the film, which includes an interval and another chance for refreshments, before watching the rest of the film. Before we go I ask everyone if they enjoyed the film. They absolutely love it, and they always ask me when the next one is.

There are several things that make the cinema showings ‘dementia-friendly.’  First, the sound is not as loud. Secondly, there is an interval. Thirdly, the room is more lit up than usual, so people can feel free to get up and go to the toilet at any time, or just wander around a bit. You don’t have to have dementia to come along; this is about bringing the community together – whether you could do with the company, have mental health issues or anything else – anyone is welcome. Come and join us!”

The next cinema session is a showing of the practically perfect famous nanny in Mary Poppins Returns on Thursday 9th May. See more by clicking on this link: https://www.empire-theatre.co.uk/dementia-friendly-cinema

Find out about our Greenfields Resident Groups and how you can get involved by clicking on this link: Greenfields Residents Group