Lancaster community cinema helping to save lives

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“I spend all my time on this because at the end of the day I don’t want people to die.”

These are the words of a man who said goodbye to his addictive past to help others on the road to recovery in Lancaster.

Alex Campbell who volunteers at Open Cinema Lancashire.

Alex Campbell who volunteers at Open Cinema Lancashire.

One year ago David Mcloughlin spoke exclusively to the Guardian about hitting rock bottom from his 25 years of drink and drugs hell.

The 47-year-old turned his life around by setting up a voluntary community cinema in the city – helping thousands in and out of recovery.

“I am so proud to bring the community together through film and friendship,” said David.

Over the past year Metamorphosis, Open Cinema Lancashire has brought 112 films to 3185 people.

The not-for-profit organisation has also helped save one man’s life after he lost everything to drink and drugs.

Alex Campbell lost his job, his home and family due to years of alcohol abuse. His stable career as a joiner and relationship with daughter Sophie were torn apart – leaving him alone with his addiction.

“I drank at work, that went on and on until I got fired, it just went downhill,” said Alex.

“When my partner left me I tried to kill myself, I couldn’t bare to be on my own, I was terrified.”

The dad who was once too scared to talk is now working with David to help others. 
“Before this project, people, some of the older generation, would see someone like Alex in the street and cross over the road,” said David.

“Now Alex has struck up so many relationships and has made some dear friends.

“One of the ladies who comes along would be sat at home alone, now she says she looks forward to her cinema nights, she wants to see the place that saved lives.”

Alex rekindled with family during the cinema’s successful Roald Dahl centenary film nights, and picked up his tools once again to make the cinema set.

“Helping give back is 50 per cent of recovery,” said Alex.

“If it wasn’t for this I don’t know what would have happened, I would certainly be living a much more mundane life.”

Open Cinema provide free access to film screenings and film-related events for people to socialise and support each other.

A team of eight volunteers are behind the project and David Mcloughlin hopes it will become a charity, expanding to Preston. Open Cinema runs every Wednesday at 2pm at Lancaster Library and Littledale Hall every Friday for people in rehabilitation. Volunteer or more at www.opencinemalancashire.btck.co.uk/ or 01524 555900.