Leigh Film Society Lockdown: Orange Bags of Cinema Sunshine

During the COVID lockdown Leigh Film Society delivered orange bags of DVD’s to vulnerable people in lockdown. Staying connected and providing cinema escapism in a bag.
Elizabeth Costello

Project overview

Why the project matters

Leigh Film Society are a independent community cinema charity. Established in 2013 we use film screenings to fight against social isolation, create opportunities for young people and support community cohesion.

We have many different film screening projects including: Evening Film Society, Afternoon Classic Cinema Club, Annual Short Film Festival, Community Cinema Events, Monthly Saturday Family Matinees and Adult and Young Carers Film Clubs.

Over the past seven years we have used film screening to commemorate national events and raising awareness to campaigns and to help raise money for good causes whilst bringing the best in non-mainstream films to our town. We’ve had so many achievements its hard to select a notable one.

We are 100% volunteers at Leigh Film and in June 2018 we were extremely proud to be awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service for “Providing socially-inclusive cinema screenings for everyone in the community and broadening access to culture”.

In 2020 we were awarded Edge Hill University 2020 Employer of the Year for the work we do with student work placements at our annual short film festival. It important in a post-industrial town to create opportunities to support young people enhancing their CV’s to get into the film industry.

Something I personally enjoy is that we have reinvigorated the family Saturday matinees. 


With no screening events we started looking at ways to keep film in our community. We tried a few online screenings and set up a forum for film discussion.

With our vast DVD collection, we decided to offer it out to vulnerable people living in isolation

The initiative was inspired by our afternoon classic cinema club as we knew so many of our members lived alone.

We wanted to stay connected with them and show our support. 

Headline results

The response was amazing, there’s so many people out there living alone. With support from Forever Manchester we were able to offer a DVD delivery service.

the project is run entirely by Leigh Film Society Volunteers.

Requests come in from Facebook, Twitter and via our Wigan Council’s community hubs.

We check out their preferences and then a bag is delivered containing about 6 – 8 DVD’s and a treat to enjoy while watching.

There is no personal contact deliveries are left on the doorstep.


All bags are age appropriate we call them our orange bags of cinema sunshine.

I messaged Studio Canal and they responded, however, we do keep our social media up to date and can clearly evidence what we’re doing in our community. I’m sure they will have taken a look at us first and researched before responding they said they liked what we’re doing and wanted to help.

Due to the success of the project we have put out numerous requests for DVD’s donations.

People in the community have really got behind this initiative and donations are coming in on a regular basis.

Key partnerships

Wigan Council

Learning outcomes

What worked

The feedback and positive comments have been wonderful and the smiling faces when we deliver makes it all worthwhile.

When this is all over, we will return to our regular screening programmes bringing great films for everyone.



We have now expanded this project to include: –

primary school children who are vulnerable, children who are accessing free school meals, refugee groups, care homes and carers.

Awareness & attitudes

What it has highlighted to us is the amount of people and families who are not online or can’t afford the streaming channels.

This is a concern that we need a digital reform for the most dis-advantaged in our society.

Knowledge & experience

For many years we have championed cinema therapy and the therapeutic benefits that cinema offers.

Watching films is a great way to escape to another time or place and a relaxing way to take our minds off the current crisis.


It’s wonderful to receive feedback like this (on Twitter from a delivery of #ChickFlicks):

“Thank you for the DVDs. You really lifted my spirits. Not only with the delivery but the content. The film Along came Polly. Gave me a giggle as I’m known as Polly. Thank you for your kindness”