During the past year, members of our communities have gone above and beyond to ensure that people still feel a sense of belonging in these strange times.

In the case of Carlisle’s Paul Donaldson, he has been tirelessly dedicating his time to ensure the members of his popular Carlisle Cult Cinema Club still feel part of a community.

Prior to lockdown the club would meet for screenings at Harraby Theatre.

“They are absolutely amazing down there, Paul states. “The people who run it have been so supportive over the years.”

Like many groups over the past twelve months, however, the inability to meet up meant that Paul had to find new ways of keeping people engaged. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he has continued to work to keep the community alive.

“We’re celebrating our four year anniversary as a club this month. I’m looking forward to screening again when it’s safe to do and I’m also relaunching a podcast series soon to hopefully engage with even more people.

“For the podcasts lined up, I have about 20 actors, directors, special effects people and producers to speak about the cult movies they’ve worked on.

“I’m a big cult cinema fan obviously and so the idea to start the group came out of me wanting to show both the cinematic trash and treasures out there. Some films have never been back on the cinema so introducing them to people or helping people revisit a film hey may have enjoyed in the past is a real passion for me.

“People have really enjoyed it.”

Two years ago, however, a rare disorder meant that Paul’s life took a very challenging turn which brought home to him the impact feeling part of a community can have.

“In January 2019, I became paralysed from the neck down. I’ve fought back after months in hospital and I’m learning to walk again."

The club continued when Paul was in hospital, showing films such as as the original Star Wars for charity.

“It just showed how a love of film can bring a community together. It kept us going and kept my spirits up with people sending messages and having something to keep my mind busy.

“The support I received in that time was very humbling and I’ll never forget it.”