First GBSLEP Growing Places project opens at Barton Marina
A two-screen independent cinema and café bar is now open for business after becoming the first project to be completed through the GBSLEP Growing Places Fund.
The Red Carpet Cinema & Café Bar at Barton Marina near Barton-under-Needwood was the brainchild of Kate and Ian Silverwood who had a dream to open a small cinema and eatery under one roof.
Since opening to the public in August, the Red Carpet has slowly grown into a local sanctuary for people who enjoy a relaxed, cosy cinema experience and the business, crucially, has already created more than 20 mainly full time jobs.
The café bar serves homemade sourdough pizza and other homemade dishes, desserts and cakes in addition to triple-certified coffee.
The cinema has two screens – one with 70 seats and the other with 100 and shows a combination of the latest blockbusters, independent and art house films and there is now a full programme of live opera, ballet and theatre beamed in via satellite.
The project was supported by the GBSLEP through the Growing Places Fund which is available to businesses to kick start development projects which are unable to proceed because of difficulties accessing finance.
The Red Carpet Cinema & Café Bar is the first scheme to be completed and opened after receiving support from the fund.
Kate said: “We had a core of customers who followed us from the very start of the construction work. Without any advertising, they became involved in our story and have spread the word and business is growing very rapidly.
“We are of course, extremely grateful to all our customers who are talking to their friends and families and persuading them to try us.
“Sometimes when I walk through the café bar and hear the busy atmospheric buzz, I do feel relieved and overjoyed that people are coming and enjoying themselves.
“In the little cinemas, when customers are engrossed by the film in such a collective experience, it does make all the effort worthwhile.
“Without Growing Places and the GBSLEP I honestly believe that The Red Carpet would still be a bit of scrub land with a few random concrete pipes sitting on it!
“We delivered the construction of the building on time and on budget using a local builder, RJK Construction. We are now hitting our financial targets and intend to work tirelessly to return the money to the GBSLEP so they can lend it to other new businesses that are creating jobs in the local area.
“I think the scheme is an inspirational piece of government intervention to back entrepreneurs at a time when our banking system refuses to lend money.”
Cllr Richard Grosvenor, GBSLEP Board Director and Leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, said: “Having the first completed Growing Places project in the GBSLEP here in East Staffordshire is a something to be proud of.
“Having been to visit the Red Carpet I can only urge anybody who lives in the area to give it a visit to see for themselves how impressive it is.
“We are keen to do everything we can to help, both through the LEP and the Borough Council, to support businesses and the Growing Places Fund is an excellent way to do this.”
Visit the Red Carpet Cinema website at www.redcarpetcinema.co.uk.