Contact a Family Cymru: Supportive Environment Screenings

Supportive environment film events for children with disabilities and/or additional needs and their families.
Midnight Memphis

Project Overview

A strategic project as part of Film Hub Wale’s Diversity & Access strand for 2015/16, developed in response to both audience and member demand.

Contact a Family are a national charity that support families with children who have a range of sensory needs and learning difficulties. In 2015, Film Hub Wales awarded support to Contact a Family Cymru for the delivery of a minimum of 18 supportive environment film events, open to children with disabilities and/or additional needs and their families. The initial programme of free ‘Family Film Days’ began in 2013 as a result of support from the Big Lottery, which FHW match funded. They also held a successful pilot event in 2014 at Chapter (Cardiff) to celebrate their ‘15 year birthday’.

FHW extended support for the project to include the delivery of 5 additional events during schools half-term in February, 2016 at Pontardawe Arts Centre, Ucheldre, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Odeon – Wrexham and Chapter.

Key objectives were to help to decrease isolation for families by extending operations to more rural areas, with events taking place in each Local Authority across Wales.


Events took place at 24 separate venues across Wales – 13 with current FHW members, 11 with non-members (allowing us to expand reach and target new members).

FHW member venues/locations are as follows:

1. Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
2. Memo Arts Centre, Barry
3. Chapter, Cardiff
4. Coliseum Theatre, Aberdare
5. Coliseum Theatre, Brecon
6. Dragon Theatre, Barmouth
7. Savoy Theatre, Monmouth
8. Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli
9. Newbridge Memo, Newbridge
10. Pontardawe Arts Centre, Pontardawe
11. The Riverfront, Newport
12. Theatr Colwyn, Conwy
13. Theatr Gwaun, Fishguard

FHW non-member venues/locations are as follows:

1. Odeon Cinema, Bridgend
2. Metropole, Abertillery
3. National Waterfront, Swansea
4. Odeon Cinema, Wrexham
5. Park and Dare, Treorchy
6. Pavillion, Llangollen
7. Theatr Hafren, Newtown
8. Ucheldre, Holyhead
9. Vue Cinema, Carmarthen
10. Vue Cinema, Cwmbran
11. Yourspace, Chirk


Initial support of £5,875 was awarded for the project. An additional £2,500 was awarded to achieve the additional x5 events in Neath, Aberystwyth, Cardiff, Wrexham and Holyhead.

Project Partners

Key delivery partner for the project are the venues listed (above). In addition, Mencap, AFASIC, Family Fund, Ceredigion Parent’s Forum, Family Information Service, Cylch Teul, Portage Gwynedd.

Headline Results

The overall target to delivery of 18 events was exceed by 9 (giving us 27 events in total across the 24 locations above).

  • All events are offered free of charge, of which 1,065 children attended with their families,
  • Every event included opportunities for families/children to meet one another and chat in a relaxed environment.
  • Every event was followed by a lunch or a (takeaway) snack to help support the financial disadvantages of families in attendance.
  • Supplementary workshops/activities (Beatboxing, Dance & Song, Puppet Making, Music Disco and Storytelling) were provided at selected events (under
    Big Lottery funding)

Workshop statistics;

  • 9 workshops (in Powys, Caerphilly, Wrexham, Vale of Glamorgan, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Ynys Mon, Conwy, Newport and Swansea)
  • 567 beneficiaries
  • As a result of support from FHW, Contact a Family Cymru were able to create 4 billingual flyers to help promote their Spring, Summer, Autumn programmes and
    February half term programme. Average maximum number per film show was originally 75, but during the half term week (February, 2016), this increased to 90
    per film showing.


In February 2015 FHW commissioned researcher, Ben Ewart-Dean to prepare a report that would give a comprehensive understanding of the current provisions/barriers for children with sensory needs and their families to attend film screenings at cinema venues across Wales. This report includes an overview of Contact a Family Cymru’s programme of screening events. The report is on the FHW website here.

Contact a Family Cymru’s Richard Jones and Kate Wyke also held workshop sessions at FHW’s ‘Opening Doors’ events in February and March, 2016 for film exhibitors across Wales, 48 beneficiaries. This has resulted in a number of venues programming or planning new sessions, such as the Memo Arts Centre.


A total of 467 monitoring forms were completed across the length of the project;

  • 98% of families rated the event as excellent or very good
  • 91% of families felt less isolated
  • 82% of families felt more confident
  • 100% of families had fun and were happy
  • It was noted by member venues, that without the support of Contact A Family, some families have been known to a) cancel attendance prior to arrival due to fear of their child’s behavior on the day. With support, they are made to feel welcome and reassured that they can attend b) leave the venue on the day if they do not have a friendly face there to welcome them and guide the way. For some families, they are forced to see different films or have alternate days out, so this scheme allows them to watch a film together.