'Sutton Guardian' article, 2009.

Deaf Sutton teenager wins cinema website award

The founder of 'Your Local Cinema .com' has recently been voted winner of the Daily Mail 'Enterprising Young Brits: People’s Choice Award', at a ceremony honouring the outstanding contributions of young people.

7:20am Tuesday 7th April 2009

A profoundly deaf teenager from Carshalton has had his innovative and creative efforts recognised after winning a national award.

Eighteen-year-old Dean Rhodes-Brandon founded the popular Yourlocalcinema.com website while he was still at school.

Last week, he received the People’s Choice Award – voted for by members of the public – from Chancellor Alistair Darling.

Yourlocalcinema.com is an information service and website aiming to create awareness and increase viewing figures for subtitled and audio-described films and shows.

The company has worked with the UK film industry, technology companies and charities representing people with hearing or sight problems to ensure the UK leads the world in “accessible” cinema.

Today he runs the service with the help of his family, as well as finding the time to study at college three days a week.
Dean said: “It was great to meet Alistair Darling. “I gave him my business card.
"I had to endure a Dragons Den-style pitching process and a question and answer session from the high profile judges, which was nerve-racking.

“The competition was very strong, but I won the People’s Choice Award, which in my view is better than the young persons award, because it is voted for by the public.
“All the finalists from all categories – about 20 people in all – were up for that award and I beat them all, so I’m very pleased.
“Winning this award will help spread awareness of accessible cinema. "The award shows my service makes a real difference to people with a hearing or sight problem. “As we get older we may all lose some hearing or sight. "We may appreciate services that can help us enjoy sound and vision.”

Dean was inspired to set up the business following his own frustrating experiences with mainstream cinema.

Since launching the project, Dean has helped change attitudes within the UK film industry, persuading it to prioritise accessible cinema.

Having secured funding and support from the UK Film Council and the UK film industry, Dean plans to continue to grow the service as the one-stop-shop for accessible cinema information.

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