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Six Jersey charities have benefitted from the generosity of the sponsors of last year’s Jersey Film Festival despite it having to be cancelled due to health and safety reasons.

Autism Jersey, Beresford Street Kitchen, Brighter Futures, Durrell, Jersey Hospice Care and the NSPCC Jersey have all received £1,250 after the four sponsors – Dandara, Rathbones, Saltgate and The Idea Works – agreed that the monies they had pledged in support of the event should still go to these worthy causes.

Founded in 1994 by Kevin Lewis, the Film Festival has become a staple of the summer entertainment calendar with outdoor screenings having been staged at several venues over the years before eventually finding a permanent home at Howard Davis Park.

Based on the concept of the American drive-in cinema, albeit without cars or an admission charge, its aim is to show only family films and to encourage audiences to bring along a picnic and a rug and enjoy some of their favourite movies under the stars. And because it’s free, there’s a retiring collection each night which, over the years, has helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

Such has been its popularity, with thousands of filmgoers attending some of the screenings, it’s become a victim of its own success, resulting in the cancellation of last year’s event due to health and safety concerns. Despite this, the four sponsors agreed that the six charities chosen to be the beneficiaries of the 2019 shouldn’t lose out and so their sponsorship monies have been shared equally between these third sector organisations.

Beresford Street Kitchen, which provides training and employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities, was also one of the recipients for 2018, but fundraising manager Georgie Dodd said many of their team and crew had been regular attendees for many summers, with some of them watching every film on show. “The crew at BSK absolutely love the Film Festival as it’s a great opportunity for them to go out as a group,” she said. “All of us are really hopeful that it returns this year as it is one of our favourite events in the calendar.”

Richard Lumborg, the managing director of The Idea Works, confirmed that they and the other three sponsors were working closely with the festival’s organising committee to resolve the issues which hampered last year’s planning and that they looked forward to celebrating what will be the 25th staging of this landmark event later this year.

“The feedback we’ve had from locals and visitors, and from everyone involved in staging it, is that it was much-missed in 2019, not just because of the opportunity it affords local charities but also because of the fantastic atmosphere generated at what is a hugely popular and family-friendly event,” said Mr Lumborg.

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Howard Davis Park later this summer,” he added.

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