£61,000 lifeline to help Oban cinema

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Oban Phoenix Cinema is among 30 independents across Scotland to receive a grant.

A total of £3.5 million is being shared by Screen Scotland from the Scottish Government’s Independent Cinema Recovery and Resilience Fund and The National Lottery.

The fund aims to bridge the immediate financial gap faced by independently-owned cinemas as a result of the coronavirus.

Oban will receive £61,000 and the fund is aimed at helping support cinemas to operate in the short-term, within Scottish Government guidelines, and help others towards reopening, when safe to do so.

Manager Jennie Larney said: ‘We are overwhelmed by the support of Creative Scotland. The funding we have secured will have a profound impact on our ability to operate our cinema for our community and maintain the jobs of the staff.

‘These are challenging times and without the funding we would have really struggled to maintain ourselves and our cinema.’

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture with the Scottish Government, said: ‘We understand the severe impact this pandemic has had on businesses across Scotland, including our independent cinemas which play such an important role in communities across the country.

‘We have had to make some really difficult decisions recently that will impact on cinemas which have worked so hard to re-open safely, but we have to put health considerations above everything else and I hope this funding, along with the business support that will be available, will help independent cinemas cope with all the challenges they face.

‘Culture is vitally important to all of our lives, and we are determined to do everything within our powers to see the sector through this crisis. This fund is part of the ongoing financial support the Scottish Government is making available to the sector.’

Sambrooke Scott, head of audience development at Screen Scotland, said: ‘Independent cinemas have always played a vital role in communities across Scotland, bringing people together to immerse themselves in great film experiences from filmmakers around the world, and around the corner.

‘It’s been the most challenging of times for these hard-working venues but, with the help of this Scottish Government and National Lottery support, they will continue to open and operate safely as local restrictions allow.

‘By putting stringent measures in place to protect staff and audiences alike they will open where able and bring the magic and escapism of cinema back, which is something we need now more than ever.’