Coffs Harbour BCC (Birch Carroll and Coyle) have many community based initiatives and we talked to Sue Amos, the General Manager, about a recent St. John Paul College student, Nicola, who really enjoyed the mentoring program they have on offer.
Coffs Harbour BCC is so much more than a movie cinema. Sue, how is BCC a real part of the community we live in?
Well, apart from every community needing great entertainment, there are so many ways we engage at various levels. We are always looking for great offers to present to our customers, like: $11 Family Movies on school holidays, Family Fun Day Screenings, Morning Tea Screenings for our Senior Members and Sensory Movie Days.
We are a fantastic first job for so many local teenagers, and we support schools with choc top and popcorn stalls for their fetes to help them raise funds, also welcoming work experience students looking for a taste of life beyond school.
Recently you had a mentoring program in place, and Nicola from St. John Paul College attended – what kind of activities did she participate in?
Nicola joined us for her retail subject and has been coming each week with a teacher’s aide to complete her work experience. The school and Nicola’s family are very proactive and there is so much for support for us, as well as Nicola – it’s such a wonderful experience for myself and the staff. During her morning, Nicola helps set up the candy bar, greets customers, assists in candy bar sales and directs customers to their cinema. In between sessions is time for a few cleaning jobs. We are currently looking at her work experience continuing after school is finished.
What feedback did you receive – does Nicola enjoy her time at BCC and take away a new skill set?
Her mum, Christine, has been so supportive and proud of Nicola’s accomplishments: “She has benefited greatly from her work placement with the cinema. She has learned new skills and the importance of work ethics and staying on task, which has increased her confidence and self-esteem. “Meeting new people in the community has assisted her social skills, including a focus on making eye contact with customers and advising which cinema they are in.”
We absolutely love this feedback and are so glad that our support of Nicola, and her learning, has had real results.
Deb, a Teacher’s Aide that accompanies Nicola also says, “Nicola enjoys her work experience at the cinema, as it is always varied and she has learnt many new skills. She especially enjoys serving the customers and listens intently to their requests, so that she can help. Nicola now knows what jobs she needs to fulfil in her two hours’ work experience, and she also enjoys learning new jobs when they arise. The cinema staff are always very welcoming and helpful to assist Nicola with her learning and independence.“
That’s a great example of how you cater for people of all different abilities; is there anything else?
Sensory Movie Days are designated sessions for families with sensory needs. Held each month on a Sunday morning, we screen a family movie with the lights slightly up, sound at a lower level and volunteers to help provide additional eyes and support. It is a welcoming and accepting environment where children with sensory issues can have some quality time with their families, as they are free to move around, vocalise, be themselves.
Too often families are split for activities due to sensory requirements – we aim to be a place where ALL families are together. Our Sensory Movie Days are a wonderful initiative we relaunched last year with the help of Sensory Souls nationally and also Coffs Coast Autism locally, who provide volunteers and networking to the families. The next Sensory Movie Day is Incredibles 2 (PG) on Sunday, August 19 at 10:30am.
Facilities are also available for Closed Captions and Audio Description in cinemas 2 and 4. This means that movie titles enabled with this technology will be flagged on our Patron Programme and website: www.birch.com.au
What does Closed Caption and Audio Description mean?
Closed Captions are subtitles for people with profound lack of hearing, presented with a Captiview unit. The unit fits into the cup holder and is positioned at a comfortable place within the line of sight of the viewer.
For those with very limited sight, Audio Description enables them to still experience the wonder of movies. As well as the general soundtrack for the film, there is also descriptive narrative to really set the scene.
These are displayed with CC and AD respectively on our program; you can even filter for these sessions specifically on
Do some of these customers require additional care?
Many of our regular (and favourite) customers require a high level of care. I am very proud that we accept Companion Cards. These government issued cards enable a person requiring care to bring their carer at no cost. This extends to all movies, even those on the No Free Ticket List. We have many customers and carers both from the family environment and registered community care organisations utilise this service on a regular, sometimes weekly basis. We even have the cutest Assistance Dog “Arlo” visit with his owner. Arlo assists us to have a great day too when he visits!
What other activities do you offer and for who?
Some of our biggest events are our Seniors Morning Teas. These are a morning screening of a new release film and our members receive a complimentary morning tea put on by our lovely Lorrinda, who is our Cinebuzz for Seniors Ambassador. Cinebuzz is recognised as one of Australia’s best free loyalty programs. Members who are 65 or over currently receive $10 tickets to standard sessions, discounted choc tops and lots of other great offers. Its free to join, you get cheap tickets … it’s brilliant!
And to be honest, there are so many things to talk about; I’d need the whole mag! But, I recommend everyone knowing about:
Chicks at the Flicks – held monthly, these preview screenings are the perfect girls’ night out. Mini market, nibbles, gift bag and giveaways (they tend to be a “mums’ night off”).
Family Fun Days – leading up to the release of new family films, look out for our Family Fun Days, where we entertain the kids before a special advance screening of the film. Cinebuzz Rewards members also receive discounted tickets to these events.
Weekend Family Flicks – in between the holidays we keep running the slightly older product every Saturday and Sunday morning and tickets are from just $6 – you never know when you need a cheap way to entertain kids on a weekend!
Bring Your Baby – having a newborn can be a really tough time, and getting out and about is really important. These sessions run three times a week and are made just for parents with babies: the lights are up, the sound is down and you don’t need to dash out with every coo they make.
These events, when they are on, and the discounts available, can all be found on www.eventcinemas.com.au