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Ben Palmer smiling by a brick wall

Kickstart Scheme at Leeds Heritage Theatres

We aim to make Leeds Heritage Theatres as diverse and accessible as possible by offering many different entry routes into careers within our venues.

We have run apprenticeships, placements and volunteering opportunities. And now, thanks to the government’s Kickstart Scheme (which provides funding for companies to create jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds receiving Universal Credit), Hyde Park Picture House has been able to fill a new role within their communications department.

We asked our first Kickstart placement, Ben Palmer, to tell us a little more about his experience joining the team as a Student Engagement and Marketing Coordinator.

Written by Ellen Carnazza.

Hi. I’m Ben, the Student Engagement and Marketing Coordinator for the Hyde Park Picture House. I joined the team in late November 2021, with my role being created as part of the government’s Kickstart Scheme.

The role appealed to me for so many reasons. I knew the cinema was undergoing a lot of refurbishments, which meant lots of different ideas were needed in order to attract an audience while screenings were ‘On The Road’. As one of the venues for the On The Road Programme included Leeds University’s Union, the team recognised the opportunity to engage with students as much as possible, in the hope that they will follow us back to the cinema when it reopens. This resulted in the creation of my role which involves building relationships with courses and societies at the different universities in Leeds, writing a newsletter for our 16–25-year-old members and creating a TikTok account, as well as the day-to-day management of other social media accounts. The latter led to me visiting the Hyde Park Picture House site to create some content about the reconstruction work, which is where I am in the image!

Ben Palmer in a high vis and hard hat

Throughout my time at the Picture House, its importance throughout the city has become more and more apparent. I knew of Hyde Park Picture House before I moved to Leeds, but didn’t realise just how special it is to so many people. Whenever anyone asks where I work and I reply: “Hyde Park Picture House”, I’m instantly met with a plethora of questions: “When are you reopening?”, “How’s the redevelopment going?”, “What have you got screening at the moment?”.  It feels great to hear people speak about the place with such passion and interest, and I’m always pleased to tell them how much care and attention is going into the redevelopment to make sure the cinema maintains its charm, as well as give them updates on the exciting screenings and events we currently have on offer.

For anyone else looking to apply for an opportunity courtesy of the Kickstart Scheme, the best advice I can give is to stop thinking about it and do it! As well as the great professional experience it has provided for me, I’ve met so many great, supportive people who’ve taught me so much.

You can find out more about alternative pathways to a career at Leeds Heritage Theatres in some of our others blog entries. To see our current vacancies and opportunities, visit the Join Our Team or Take Part pages.