Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Focus on films

ONE of the many things we're proud about here at Carlisle Mencap is our film-making capacity. Yep, that's right - we make films.

Not your Batman Returns or Indiana Jones-type epics you understand, but films that are a lot shorter but which still pack quite a punch with the serious issues they tackle.

The films are the work of the staff and service users at our Independence Studio in the Grace Little Centre for children here in north Carlisle.

In the past the Independence Studio has created short animated films on important topics such as voting and healthy eating. But it has also tackled the issue of sexual exploitation - Is It Ok? - and recently it has also come up with two films confronting two other very serious issues – Hate Crime and Mate Crime. These films are created in order to help educate others on topics that may be difficult to understand and also to warn of the dangers out there in the modern world. Take Control was the name of the film regarding hate crime and was funded by the Home Office. 
Carlisle Mencap prides itself on being at the forefront of tackling hate crime and in March this year, Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner  Peter McCall joined  representatives from the Home Office at Tullie House in Carlisle for the launch of Take Control. And it was the Police and Crime Commissioner who also this year funded the film on Mate Crime. These two films were a big reason why Carlisle Mencap was chosen this year to be  involved in the annual nationwide #No2H8 Crime Awards which celebrates those individuals and organisations countering hatred, intolerance and prejudice because it is the right thing to do and sometimes at considerable risk to themselves. 
Other high-profile partners include the Daily Mirror, Kiss FM, Take A Break, Closer and Bella magazines, and the Jewish News.
So these films that our Independence Studio come up with are very useful to other organisations and agencies and I would certainly recommend you take a view of them because they are available to watch on Youtube. But these films are also vital because, as Dan Campbell of the Studio told me, they all start off with input and ideas from our service users, and then the films take the service users'  own experiences and issues in real life and show how people can cope with them, tackle them, and most importantly deal with them. Experiences in the past have made some service users too frightened to use public transport on their own. A sad indictment of our society but just one reason why these films are so important to be seen by as wide an audience as possible.
On a lighter note, a film on the theme of our 50th anniversary is due to be launched next month at the Carlisle YOuth Zone. More about that in a forthcoming blog, but for now, the Youtube link to the Is It Ok? film about sexual exploitation is and the Take Control film on hate crime can be viewed at

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