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Help still required to restore Lincoln's Ritz cinema to its former glory

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: January 14, 2012

  • The auditorium which was Screen One.

  • The Ritz pub in High Street, Lincoln

  • The glory days of the Rizt cinema

  • Pete Genders in the old bar

  • Project manager Maaike Veenkamp

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In less than a week, more than 100 people have pledged their support and time to help to re-open The Ritz.

Off the Bench has asked for volunteers to come forward and help clear out the currently derelict venue and then act as staff when it opens later in the year.

But with around £750,000 needed to complete the refurbishment, Off the Bench is now looking to local businesses to pledge their support too.

The group has launched a seat appeal and is now urging the city's business owners to sponsor one of the 480 seats for £100.

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Film fans can also buy a season ticket for the cinema in another bid to help drum up funds.

Pete Genders, chief executive officer of Off the Bench, said: "I am absolutely blown away by the support for this project – the response and offers of help have been outstanding.

"But we need all the help we can get and we really need local businesses to come on board and offer their services to make our dream a reality."

One local business which has already offered to help with the redevelopment is Lincoln-based glazier company Acorn Glass and Glazing.

Owner Stephen Allen has generously offered to provide the labour for any glazing work needed for The Ritz free of charge.

He said: "I'm a glazier and have been for a long time. I moved to Lincoln a few years ago and started my business, but sadly The Ritz was a little bit before my time.

"In that building they're going to have to replace a lot of the old style glass to bring it in line with modern safety standards, but we're going to supply that labour to Off the Bench completely free of charge.

"We'll also do any future glazing work in the building free of charge as well while the redevelopment goes on.

"I've heard a lot of stories and memories from people when it comes to The Ritz and I'm quite nostalgic when it comes to things like that.

"We have a massive need for another cinema in Lincoln because the one we have at the moment is far too expensive, so I'm happy to help in any way I can.

"Not only that, but I can't wait to take my family there once it's opened."

For more information on how you can help with the reopening of The Ritz, call Off the Bench on 01522 837293.

Alternatively, visit www.otblincs.org.uk

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  • Otblincs  |  January 15 2012, 11:46AM

    LincolnYP's Many thanks for your comments, it's always nice to receive positive comments & praise but also great to receive constructive comments like your own. It's clear from you comments and username that you are either currently working in the sector, or were until the recent redundancies. Always happy to meet up and discuss the fantastic and positive work OTB are currently undertaking and further more being recognised for both locally & nationally with several key awards in the past 8 months. Also, always happy to share proven statistics and public information highlighting the work achieved by OTB. Regarding your comments on volunteering and apprenticeship schemes, there are plenty of opportunities in Lincolnshire for volunteers and apprentices, both currently and progressive exit routes, which can be seen through so many partnership projects and partner organisations that we are delivering for and with, the most notable of which are Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Sports Partnership, University Of Lincoln, Lincoln College, Nottingham Trent University, StreetGames, Framework, Catch 22, and so many more who have excellent opportunities in place for young people not only volunteering and in apprenticeships but young people who are not currently in education, employment or training (NEET) who engage through our projects. Thank you for your observations on twitter, OTB does indeed have a very large Sports Development arm and this is clearly visible across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, however, as most people will we aware OTB is far more than Sports Development, we have the following main arms to OTB: Sports Development Lincolnshire (Sports!) Youth Development Lincolnshire (Positive Activities & Youth Work) Outdoor Adventure Camps Lincolnshire Media & Performing Arts Lincolnshire (Social Media, Design, Film Production, Music, Dance & Performing Arts) Sports Development Nottinghamshire (Sports!) Youth Development Nottinghamshire (Positive Activities & Youth Work) Media & Performing Arts Nottinghamshire (Social Media, Design, Film Production, Music, Dance & Performing Arts) OTB Training & Alternative Education (Lincoln Central Only) How is this delivered? Well through our locality teams of 18 full time staff and 7 sessional staff. Im sure you can deduce from this that The Ritz project falls within our Media & Performing Arts Lincolnshire Department, however, we will be crossing over departments on this project. The Ritz will be producing community films for all delivery agents in Lincolnshire, youth organisations and sports organisations as well as supporting young people to cover local and nation sporting events to have their short films screened on the large screen. Thanks again for your comments LincolnYPs, would be great to sit down with you and describe in more detail, would also be great for people like yourself to feed your comments in via our strategic board and open membership meetings, after all, we are a community organisation and charity so we have 100% open membership and it's always great to have constructive criticism alongside the positive comments. Without constant questioning and criticism over the the past 8 months we would never of been able to develop the organisation and grow from only employee and 1 volunteer to become Lincolnshire's & Nottinghamshire's largest and fastest growing youth organisation with over 20 staff and over 70 volunteers, soon to double in size with the 126 volunteers who have signed up for the Ritz project this week alone. Its people like you we need on our board to keep us on our two's so please do get in touch and join up as a non-executive volunteer on our management board, we would be happy to have you.

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  • TB789  |  January 14 2012, 4:01PM

    On Look North this week there was a City Councillor (Paul Carrow?) saying that the City Council were supporting the project. Exactly what taxpayers money is going into this folly?? A response from the Leader would be appreciated!

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  • LincolnYPs  |  January 14 2012, 2:44PM

    Realistically what does OTB do for the young people of Lincolnshire that others in the county do not already provide!? Where is the evidence to the positive work that they may be delivering? If they have a volunteering/apprenticeship scheme in place where are the current opportunities to develop the young people? Also on twitter recently it was declared that OTB is a Sports Development project how is this being delivered. Seems like there is lots of publicity, little action!??!?!?!?

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  • LincolnYPs  |  January 14 2012, 2:35PM

    Realistically what does OTB do for the young people of Lincolnshire that others in the county do not already provide!? Where is the evidence to the positive work that they may be delivering? If they have a volunteering/apprenticeship scheme in place where are the current opportunities to develop the young people? Also on twitter recently it was declared that OTB is a Sports Development project how is this being delivered. Seems like there is lots of publicity, little action!??!?!?!?

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