Whitley Bay’s Jam Jar Cinema has been crowned ‘Small Business of the Year’ at the 2020 Small Awards, which celebrates the smallest and greatest firms in the UK.

Founded in 2013 in a derelict building by self-confessed ‘movie fanatics’, Jam Jar Cinema has become a beacon of the community, attracting film fans of all ages and inspiring local regeneration.

Aiming to offer the best in local, friendly, affordable, inclusive and diverse cinema, it will be reopening next Friday 31 July, following its recent temporary closure during the government lockdowns. The cinema has been remodelled to allow for antisocial engineering, and it will also be launching a new streaming platform for movie fans who prefer to stay at home.

Jam Jar Cinema beat a host of other small businesses from across the UK at the Small Awards, which celebrate the dynamism of the UK’s small business sector. As well as being named ‘Small Business of the Year’, it also won the ‘Heart of Gold’ award for its contribution to the community.

Organised by Small Business Britain the Small Awards shine a spotlight on small businesses that other awards often forget, from longstanding family businesses and innovation-led start-ups, to social enterprise champions.

Dan Ellis, Founder of Jam Jar Cinema said:

“We’re overjoyed to be this year’s Small Business of the Year! Jam Jar Cinema was started nine years ago on the back of a napkin, and we’re now a fully accessible cinema with a range of films, at the heart of the town. Things are undoubtedly really tough for all small businesses right now, but we are positive and determined to come back stronger. Small businesses are the soul of communities and the secret to helping them thrive.”

Michelle Ovens MBE, Founder of The Small Awards and Small Business Britain said:

“Congratulations to Jam Jar Cinema for winning our Small Business of the Year! This is hugely deserved and recognises its amazing contribution to the local community and the UK’s small business sector. Places like Jam Jar mean so much to their customers and staff and are truly at the heart of communities. The Small Awards is all about throwing a spotlight on their success, particularly in these challenging times!”

Launched in 2017, the Small Awards celebrate the very best of Britain’s small businesses and their contribution to local communities, which are often overlooked at national awards.

Judged by a panel of leading enterprise experts, the winners were announced at a lively virtual event, as Small Business Britain reformatted its traditional gala dinner due to the pandemic.

This online celebration featured entertainment from Phoenix Arts Club and Dance Syndrome, along with motivational speaker and disability rights campaigner Dr. Amit Patel, who has recently published a book ‘Kika and me: how one extraordinary guide dog changed my world.’

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