‘The film club has been invaluable during Covid-19 for our residents. It has given them
structured activities and bought them together too. Feedback from everyone involved has been very positive – it’s helped them feel connected in a disconnected time and boosted their confidence.’

NickiCypress Avenue, Scheme Manager

Residents at our Cypress Avenue supported housing scheme in Welwyn Garden City, have been enjoying blockbusters as part of the virtual film club in partnership with national charity Wavelength.

All virtual film club members were gifted a tablet enabling residents to watch the films together and join monthly virtual meetings. Residents also got a six-month free subscription to Netflix to enjoy films and TV programmes in their own time. The monthly film club sessions, hosted by a member of the Wavelength team, created a safe and social space to bring everyone together and encourage residents to connect and discuss their thoughts about the films.

Nicole has been a resident at Cypress Avenue since September 2020 and has enjoyed the project so much that it’s reignited her love of literature and poetry. She said, ‘I’ve been a member of the Wavelength film club since it started in January. The written word has always been important to me and I’m something of an aspiring poet. Pre-film club my literary pursuits had laid rather dormant, buried underneath depression and fear, and my writing abilities suffered because of this. The film club put a whole 180 spin on this.

‘The virtual sessions have really helped my confidence. I’m naturally an introverted character and often get extremely timid around public speaking. ‘However, Ali, the host, is always offering people the chance to share their opinions by asking insightful questions. Even if I’m nervous, I find myself opening my mouth and verbalising my thoughts. If you told me four months ago, I’d actually be wanting to speak and be heard by other people, well I would have blushed scarlet and profusely denied this wild remark!

‘I feel closer and more connected, not only to myself, but to everyone that hears my words.’

Clara

Before her,
I would lose my mind a thousand times,
and bleed trying to find it.
Living in a vacuum of all my fears,
the hole was never going to make me whole.
It was a futile endeavour that left me entombed in a grave,
suffocating me with my own loneliness,
the plight tested the surviving rays of optimism – it never won.
And then on one cold bright afternoon, I rescued her – we rescued each other –
from a derelict unknown town in an unforgiving land.
My heart accelerating from the weight of responsibility,
she looked through toffee eyes too fearful,
and moved as if every step was going to result in pain.
An aura of distrust had protected her through her war,
yet the quiet determined wish to be loved hadn’t left.
Cuddling while trembling, she was as much in demand of love
as she was fearful of it.
Years of being unresponsive to change,
my fear had to turn to strength to help hers.
And learning to live was scary, it still is.
But perhaps, not all endings have to be from my own hand.
If there’s beauty and worth in the eclipse I live in,
she is the sun hiding behind, but still so powerfully felt because
tomorrow’s hours will not be spent over yesterday’s grievances.
By Nicole – resident at Cypress Avenue

Who’s Clara? Nicole’s poem – Clara – is about her rescue dog from Romania. Nicola is training Clara as an emotional support dog and is hoping she’ll be able to register her as a service dog in the future.

Feeling inspired by Cypress Avenue’s film club?

Why not start a similar club with friends and family. As this project shows, you don’t have to meet face-to-face to stay connected.

Here’s some film ideas from the film club to get you started – The Midnight Sky, The Truman Show, Peanut Butter Falcon, White Tiger and Rocks.

If you need help with getting online, get in touch with our Communities team. They’ll contact you to discuss how they can support you to get online.