Film puts resort’s homeless in focus

The documentary team, from left, Michael Wiltshire (Writer), Emily Phelps (Student), Roger Stevens of samfilms, Jake Fearnley (Student) and Chris McLoughlin of samfilms
The documentary team, from left, Michael Wiltshire (Writer), Emily Phelps (Student), Roger Stevens of samfilms, Jake Fearnley (Student) and Chris McLoughlin of samfilms
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The heartbreaking stories of some of Blackpool’s homeless and vulnerable are set to go from the streets to the small screen.

Film makers from Blackpool-based SAMFilms are making a documentary about the work of the Bridge Project, a vital service that provides food, clothing, skills and support to those most in need.

The project, based within the Salvation Army Citadel on Raikes Parade, needs at least £80,000 a year to keep supporting hundreds of vulnerable people.

The documentary will be screened during fund-raising and awareness talks in a bid to encourage people and funding groups to sup-port the charity.

Project manager Bev Taylor said: “I’m hoping this will raise awareness about the project and attract donations in order for the project to carry on running.”

SAMFilms co-founder Roger Stevens said: “It was an eye-opener for us to see what the project does.

“They provide the last safety net for people and without them I think some people would die.

“We’re hoping to show that the Bridge Project does a great job but if they were better funded they could do even more.

“They exist on a wing and a prayer, every penny is raised themselves and we want to help them to keep that funding going.”

During the three-day filming schedule the team filmed classes, looked at the practicalities of running the project, interviewed staff, volunteers and people using the service and talked to organisations which support the charity.

SAMFilms have taken on two creative media students from Blackpool Sixth Form College, Jake Fearnley and Emily Phelps, both 18, to help with filming too, as part of their factual film-making coursework.

Mr Stevens added: “It’s given the students an opportunity to work with real people and explore real issues, you can’t get more factual than this.”

The short film is also an opportunity to give a voice to the many people who rely on the Bridge Project to turn their lives around after finding themselves in the most desperate of situations.

Mrs Taylor added: “It gives the people who come to the project a voice too.

“There are a lot of people out there who maybe judge homeless people so this is an opportunity for people to find out what’s actually going on for them.”

The charity was introduced to the film-makers through a Princes Charities scheme, by a Department for Work and Pensions employee on secondment to the charity, Ian Foggy.