The Gaumont Plaza has been a feature of Flint town centre since the late 1930s, although over the years the building has seen periods of closure and disuse, most recently closing it’s doors in 2011.
It was in 2016 that Ashley Whyatt and his son, Alejandro, visited the Grade II listed building with Councillor Ian Roberts. Parts of the roof had collapsed over the balcony and water could be found leaking around the former bingo halls and cinema screen. Following the visit the Wyatt family decided to invest in the building with the ambition of bringing cinema back to Flint for the community to enjoy. The cinema reopened in December 2016 and has become a source of entertainment for the area, regularly showing new releases on their three cinema screens.
Speaking on the progress of the cinema, Cllr Ian Roberts, Leader of Flintshire County Council said:
“I was present when the Whyatt family visited the cinema back in 2016 and am very grateful to the family for their investment in the cinema in Flint and for bringing cinema back to the town for the first time in 40 years.
To have a cinema in the community is something we will always be grateful for.”
At the end of November the Whyatt family met with Delyn MS, Hannah Blythyn, Flintshire County Council Leader, Cllr Ian Roberts, and local ward representative, Cllr Michelle Perfect. The family took the opportunity to discuss the family’s journey in reopening the cinema and the challenges faced this year, with their elected representatives.
Like many businesses the Gaumont has been impacted by the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus as much as possible. Although the doors have had to remain closed at times, the cinema has been able to access financial support to keep the business going. Grants from the Welsh Government and administered by Flintshire County Council have meant that the cinema has not been forced to close their doors permanently.
Ms Blythyn said:
“This year has presented us with a variety of challenges across all aspects of our lives, particularly our ability to socialise and spend time with family and friends.
I’m pleased that following significant investment from the family themselves, the Welsh Government has been able to provide financial support to the Gaumont Plaza, to ensure that the cinema will continue to be a valued asset to the community of Flint.”
Most recently the cinema has received funding from the Arts Council of Wales, provided by the Welsh Government, which was specifically targeted at keeping independent cinemas afloat.
The Whyatt family gave their thanks for the support they have received during the coronavirus saying:
“We are grateful to the Welsh Government for all their support. It has been our pleasure to return cinema to the town of Flint and we hope our customers are as pleased with our efforts as we are.”
Indoors attractions currently remain closed in Wales in a further attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but you can find out more about the Gaumont Plaza by visiting www.cinemaflint.co.uk.