A little slice of Hollywood came to Crook with the premiere of a short film created by participants of Reaching Out Across Durham – a voluntary project to help County Durham residents unlock their potential.
The film, which was produced by and features participants on the Reaching Out Across Durham (ROAD) project, shows some of the many ways it helps people over 25 to overcome their barriers to employment and improve their wellbeing.
Filmed over several days throughout the Summer of 2019 with the support of not-for-profit organisation Beacon Films, the film follows participants as they discuss the benefits of the programme, while attending arts and crafts workshops hosted by ROAD partner Jack Drum Arts, healthy eating courses hosted by Top Notch Scotch Egg Company, and enjoying fresh air while leading an educational nature walk in rural Durham.
Following a showing of the film, participants who took part were each presented with an award to mark their contributions.
Reaching Out Across Durham, is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund until June 2022. It works exclusively with people, aged over 25, who are out of work and living in County Durham to help them unlock their potential.
Craig Drummond, ROAD Partnership Lead at Groundwork NE & Cumbria, said: “Reaching Out Across Durham exists to support people find their potential in a way that helps them as an individual. For some that means gaining new qualifications, or getting fitter and healthier. For others it’s helping them to broaden their experience so they can become more confident in themselves, through things like volunteering with organisations that interest them, or activities like film-making.
“It was moving to see our participants speak in their own words on the big screen about the way ROAD has helped transform their lives. Every person who we work with has an individual plan to help them achieve their ambition, and I’m pleased to say that many of the people in the film have now left the programme having done just that.”
Anna Harding, ROAD Co-ordinator at Jack Drum Arts, said: “As a partner of ROAD, Jack Drum uses the arts to promote health and wellbeing. We get people involved in activities and events, which they enjoy but also helps to boost their confidence and involves them in their local communities.
“Prior to working with Duffel Films on our film-making course, I don’t think any of our participants had the opportunity to try their hand at film-making, so it was a fantastic opportunity for them to practice and build confidence in skills such as planning, problem-solving and coordinated team-work, to then be rewarded with the fact they had produced such a professional looking product. This lovely bit of life experience provided a valuable lesson for them about stepping out of their comfort zone and reaping the rewards of trying something new. It has given them the ability to recognise that they may have many transferable skills that can be used for the benefit of finding future employment.”
Andrew Coats, Director at Duffel Films, said: “It was a pleasure to work with everyone on the ROAD programme and to introduce them to filmmaking. I was really impressed with the way they took to it, and by the end of our time together they were dab-hands. I feel the final film really captures what ROAD is about; helping people to unlock their potential and feel better about themselves.”