Lincoln's Ritz cinema project leader shortlisted for national recognition
The man behind the project to revive Lincoln's Ritz cinema has been shortlisted in a campaign to find the country's best role model.
Budding entrepreneur Pete Genders, from Rope Walk, is the chief executive of volunteer organisation Off The Bench.
In January this year it was announced that Off The Bench was to reopen the cinema, which has laid dormant for more than 15 years, as part of a community project to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in the area.
Mr Genders is now in the final six of the Britain's Top Real Role Model campaign. If he wins, he will receive a £10,000 cash prize for The Ritz project.
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On making the shortlist, Mr Genders said: "It is such an honour to have been considered for such a worthwhile and inspiring campaign.
"I am passionate about helping my local community and supporting the future of youth entrepreneurship and employment. What an incredible opportunity."
The campaign to find the country's best role model is being run by global direct selling company Amway UK.
Sheryl Franklin-Worth, Amway's corporate affairs manager, said: "All of those shortlisted are making a positive difference within their community by encouraging and supporting enterprise, and any one of them will make a worthy winner."
The Ritz cinema, in Lincoln's High Street, originally opened in 1937 and was a hub for entertainment in the city. It closed down in 1996 and was opened as a Wetherspoons pub two years later, but that only occupies the stalls and foyer area.
As well as showing classic films, the cinema will also show the latest Hollywood blockbusters. It will also show foreign films and host special themed nights for big movie franchises.
Off The Bench launched the project after looking for a way to bridge the migrant community and local community in the city's Park ward.
"We started the discussion about a community venue and we all fondly remembered The Ritz as a cinema and recounted how many hours of our childhoods were spent in the cinema itself," explained Mr Genders.
"We then discovered that although JD Wetherspoons had opened a public house downstairs, the upper floors remained empty and in various levels of decay.
"An idea to bring the cinema back to life was formed."
The winner of the competition will be announced on February 11.