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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

SCREEN MACHINE

Further to being contacted by many Arran and Cumbrae constituents and liaising with Fiona Fowler, Head of Operations and Communications

at Regional Screen Scotland (RSS), I wrote to Culture Secretary Angus Robertson MSP last week, asking him deliver Scottish Government funding to support RSS, enabling the construction of a new Screen Machine vehicle, which will cost approximately £1.4 million.


Screen Machine is Scotland’s mobile cinema which this month celebrates 25 years of the service, during which time it has travelled approximately 250,000 miles around rural and island Scotland, visiting more than forty communities each year, including Arran and Greater Cumbrae in my constituency.


Of all the communities that the Screen Machine visits, Brodick in Arran is the busiest, with an average attendance of 63 out of 78 seats sold at each screening.


Previous visits to Cumbrae also enjoyed excellent attendances and over the years the cinema has built a relationship with the local care home, for whom they’d offer private day time screenings for their residents to attend.


To rural communities like Arran and Cumbrae, the great service the Screen Machine provides is invaluable.


I trust that a positive response will be secured.


Please see my full email to Mr Robertson below.


"Dear Angus,


"As you will be aware the “Screen Machine” is Scotland’s mobile cinema which this month celebrates 25 years of the service, during which time it has travelled approximately 250,000 miles around rural and island Scotland.


"It visits more than forty communities each year, including Arran and Greater Cumbrae in my constituency.


"Of all the communities that the Screen Machine visits, Brodick in Arran is the busiest, with an average attendance of 63 out of 78 seats sold at each screening.


"Previous visits to Cumbrae also enjoyed excellent attendances and over the years the cinema has built a relationship with the local care home, for whom they’d offer private day time screenings for their residents to attend.


"To rural communities like Arran and Cumbrae, the great service the Screen Machine provides is invaluable (please see attached an editorial in today’s “Arran Banner”).


"Not only does it allow island communities to attend a cinema showing up-to-date films without having to leave the island (they can’t attend any cinema in the evenings due to ferry times), it also allows more vulnerable members of the community this experience.


"The previous Screen Machine (SM2), now eighteen years old, suffered a series of faults and is no longer fit for purpose.


"Screen Scotland stepped in earlier this year with the funds to lease a Cinemobile from French company Toutenkamion so that Regional Screen Scotland (RSS) can provide the service in 2023-2024.


"The Cinemobile has different dimensions to SM2 which means there are seven islands that can no longer be reached, including Cumbrae. This has greatly disappointed my Cumbrae constituents, many of whom have been in touch with me about this.


"Screen Machine therefore want to commission a new cinema, similar to SM2 but greener, which will see the service secured for many years to come, including to islands such as Cumbrae and Arran.


"According to Fiona Fowler, Head of Operations and Communications at RSS, a new Screen Machine will cost approximately £1.4 million and take between one year and eighteen months to build.


"RSS need the Scottish Government to provide 50% of the cost. That would enable them to pay a deposit and begin the build before embarking on a massive fundraising effort to bring in the balance.


"Given the above, I ask you to provide funding to enable RSS to keep the beloved Screen Machine operational for Scotland’s rural and island communities, where I know such support will be very much appreciated.


"With thanks in anticipation of your assistance,


"Yours sincerely,

"Kenneth J Gibson MSP

Cunninghame North "

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