Cockermouth arts charity’s new film stars its volunteers

A Cockermouth charity has made a short film starring some of its volunteers in a recruitment drive for new helpers.

About 100 volunteers help out at the Kirkgate, Cockermouth’s arts and community centre which is run by Kirkgate Arts and Heritage. They perform a big range of roles from running the bar for the cinema to curating the local history collection to painting and decorating. They put in 7,700 hours a year, an essential contribution to the charity’s work.

“The Kirkgate Centre is closed at the moment because of the lockdown,” said Emma Heys, Executive Director of the charity, ‘but it’s a good time to let people know we are always keen to welcome new volunteers. We are a friendly team and there are lots of benefits from volunteering.’ Full training and ongoing support is offered and the experience and new skills gained can help people in their job searches.

The film will be a trailer on cinema nights at the Kirkgate Centre when it re-opens and can be seen online through Facebook, YouTube and the charity’s website. It features volunteers talking about the benefits of volunteering.

Gill George, Volunteers Coordinator, says: “We’ve had people who’ve learnt to do the lighting who’ve gone on to do it professionally. Someone who first came here as a 6th former now does the lighting for Madonna concerts and Strictly Come Dancing.”

Duty manager Zena Bergmann says: “It’s a really good way to support a local charity, make friends and enhance your CV.”

Film projectionist Nigel Bloor says: “It’s a great organisation to get to know people and you become more of a part of the community.”

Trustee Judith Bennington, who also organises the popular Cockfrock sales of quality pre-loved ladies fashions to raise funds for the charity, says: “People get a sense of fulfilment doing something, and the knowledge that they are helping to preserve this asset for Cockermouth and the wider community which is absolutely terrific.”

The film itself is a volunteer effort. It was made by brothers George and Lowell Belfield with music by talented local composer Owen Evans, who works as caretaking assistant at the Kirkgate.

You can see the film on Facebook at For more information on volunteering email [email protected]

Arts – Cumbria Crack