A documentary following the phenomenal journey of Golden Friendships has been released. The documentary was debuted at the Golden Friendships Community Hall over two nights on the 10th and 11th June. The film titled ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ follows Dalmuir-based Golden Friendships from its early days to the opening of the world’s first wheelchair entertainment venue.
Nick Low, owner of Demus Productions, who produced the film, told the Clydebank Post that he hadn’t initially planned on making a documentary on the club. The idea came about after two of his staff members visited the Golden Friendships Community Halls in Nairn Place and were blown away by what they saw.
Nick said: “Five years ago we were making videos for the West Dunbartonshire Lord Provost Awards and Jim McLaren had been nominated for the ‘Citizen of the Year’ award. We were tasked with making the films for the presentation ceremony and two of my staff at the time had come along to the club to interview Jim. They came back to the office and said ‘My god, you’ve got to come and see this place, there are people bouncing off the walls and it’s midday on a Thursday’.”
“I went along and we brought our cameras and I couldn’t believe it. We had filmed quite a lot of people over the years for West Dunbartonshire Council who overlooked departments or ran initiatives for people with additional needs but this was on a different scale. We started filming taster tapes and long story short we couldn’t get anyone interested in funding a documentary. So after five years, we decided we were just going to make this film for the club members the way we wanted to make it.”
”It’s a story of a local community getting together to create something for themselves.Nick LowDemus Productions
The documentary gives an insider’s perspective of some of the biggest events and challenges the club has faced since its inception. These include the local community coming together to raise funds to buy the building the charity had been renting, the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had on the club and how members responded, and the launch of the Red Ramp Events. After five years following the lives of Golden Friendships’ members and staff, Nick explained that the first Red Ramp Event felt like a fitting place to end the documentary.
He added: “This was one of the most natural programmes we have ever made as there was no pressure on anyone and no pressure to meet deadlines. The volunteers and members were so gracious with their time and we want to tell their story as it is a fantastic story. We were filming away from Jim and we did lots of interviews before piecing it together. Matthew and Pam’s story, I fill up just thinking about it, you can’t watch this without getting emotional.”
“It’s a story of a local community getting together to create something for themselves. We had to end on something, I mean Golden Friendships is an ongoing process, but as a filmmaker, you’ve got to find an endpoint. The Red Ramp Event felt like a suitable finish.”
Ahead of the documentary’s official premiere, Jim McLaren, founder of Golden Friendships, joined Demus Productions to finalise the film. Jim explained that he was overcome with emotions as he was taken on a trip down memory lane. He said: “You’re laughing at some points and it’s very uplifting and then at other points it’s very emotional. I’m really, really proud of my team and what we have achieved. If we didn’t have all of the staff members, volunteers, and members, I’d still be driving taxis. I can’t do this myself. This is a real family, an extended family.”