Inclusive venue development scheme

In some areas of the South East learning disabled audiences can experience obstacles when attempting to regularly engage with cinema. We want to change this by helping venues become more inclusive, welcoming places.

Research shows that the audience for independent and world cinema films doesn’t reflect the diversity of the UK population, particularly in terms of those who consider themselves to have a disability; including learning disabilities.

We want to change this, and working in partnership with Carousel – the award-winning, Brighton-based charity supporting learning disabled people to achieve their artistic ambitions – will in 2020-21 deliver a funded consultancy to three venues in the region; a heavily subsidised package that will enable them to develop a credible inclusive offer for learning disabled audiences.

The consultancy will include the production of a walk-through video for use on social media and in promotional activities; a ‘Secret Shopper’ exercise; staff training and a full report for the venue.

Film Hub South East will also fund a package of films from the Oska Bright Film Festival for selected venues to put on a screening to launch the initiative. We will select strategically important venues that we feel can most benefit from this approach.

Film Hub South East will fund the majority of the costs of this training with the venues providing a £1,000 contribution.

How does the scheme work?

We will select three cinema venues for this pilot project, in which they will work closely with consultants from Carousel. These bespoke consultancies will include staff training; the production of a walkthrough video for use on social media and in promotional activities; a ‘Secret Shopper’ exercise and a full report for the selected venues in order to support them in creating a credible inclusive offer for learning disabled audiences.

In addition, a package of films from the Oska Bright Film Festival will be made available to selected venues to screen at their launch of the initiative.

What support is offered?

Film Hub South East will support the majority of the costs of the initiative.  The selected venues will need to make a contribution of £1,000 towards the costs.

The support offered will in most cases be for a bespoke package of consultancy based on the needs and objectives of the selected venues. It is envisaged this support will last between six months to a year and will be tailored to the specific needs of the venue and community / group with learning disabled audiences.

How do I apply?

To apply to participate in the scheme, please read the Inclusive Venue Development guidelines, then download and complete the Expresssions of Interest (EOI) form.  Please submit your completed EOI to


What is the BFI Film Audience Network?

The BFI Film Audience Network (or FAN) was originally set up in 2012, using funds from the National Lottery, to support a stronger and more connected approach to growing audiences for British and international film on the big screen.  It divided film exhibition activity in the UK into regions, each led by a regional Film Hub.

Since 2017, FAN has been part of the BFI’s five-year plan BFI2022 and central to BFI2022’s commitment to give everyone, everywhere in the UK the opportunity to enjoy and learn from the richest and most diverse range of great British and international filmmaking, past, present and future.

The priorities for FAN under BFI2022 are to:

  • Increase access to a wide range of independent British and international film for audiences – especially those outside London;
  • Extend engagement with BFI supported activities across the UK and enhance the quality and cultural depth of audience experience;
  • Increase access to the UK’s screen heritage especially via the BFI’s National Film and TV Archive and those of the regions and nations;
  • Enhance the quality of audience-facing activity, deepen knowledge and build capability in its membership, and;
  • To do this with a particular emphasis on increasing the diversity of audiences and boosting the number of 16-30 year old’s engaging with film activity.

What is Film Hub South East?

Film Hub South East is the Hub region for the South East of England.  Geographically it has grown from the previous iteration of FAN and now covers the following local authority areas: Bedfordshire, Bracknell Forest, Brighton and Hove, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Luton, Medway, Milton Keynes, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Peterborough, Reading, Slough, Southend-on-Sea, Suffolk, Surrey, Thurrock, West Berkshire, West Sussex, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham.

Since 2018, Film Hub South East has been managed by the Independent Cinema Office (ICO), the UK’s national agency for the development and support of independent film exhibition.

What do we mean by "South East"?

The Film Hub South East region covers the counties of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey and Sussex. We are thrilled to be able to work with cinemas, film festivals, film societies and community groups across the region to realise our vision for the South East.

What does Film Hub South East do?

Like all of the regional Film Hubs, Film Hub South East works on behalf of the BFI and in partnership with its members to deliver specific outcomes in its region against the priorities listed above.

Who is eligible for this scheme?

This opportunity is available to venues in the FHSE region that wish to create a credible inclusive offer for learning disabled audiences.

We will select strategically important venues that we feel can most benefit from this approach.

What is Carousel?

Carousel is an award-winning UK charity supporting learning disabled people to achieve their artistic ambitions. They believe that learning disabled artists make a vital contribution to the world we live in.

Developing the creative skills of individuals and groups, in long and short-term projects, enables our artists to become leaders in their field and gain recognition for their work.

Based in Brighton, Carousel has a national and international reach through touring bands, Oska Bright Film Festival and Creative Minds. It has been an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation since 2015. Read more.

In partnership with Carousel

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