HUNDREDS of Inverclyde families enjoyed a free trip to the cinema — as part of an initiative helping drive down the cost of a day out.

Parentzone, set up a year ago by Inverclyde’s Childminding Network, aims to help families get a fair deal locally.

To celebrate a groundbreaking collaboration, the Waterfront Cinema gave away 600 free tickets yesterday afternoon.

The cinema and childminders Parentzone have watched their joint film days go viral, with 8,000 hits about the scheme on social media.

Parentzone founder Susannah Knox, a Greenock childminder, said: “We set up Parentzone because of the demand from our families for advice.

“We got talking about the cost of days out and we wanted to do something about it.

“Our aim is to help families who are all financially squeezed.

“The cinema in particular is an expensive day out and so we went to talk to the Waterfront — they were absolutely brilliant.

“Together we set up the film clubs offering cut price tickets on film club days at weekends and in the holidays.

“It has been very popular.

“Then they offered us these tickets and we had to have three showings, it’s just amazing.” The families enjoyed Shaun the Sheep and Spongebob in the Greenock cinema.

Parents were also given the opportunity to access information on dental care, local sports teams, library services, karate clubs and drama groups.

Parentzone posts advice online about a number of topics, including tips on keeping children entertained.

The film club on a Saturday is just one of their list of special offers.

Susannah said: “We want to support local businesses and the local economy — childminders are local businesses as well.

“We want to help families and local businesses.” Waterfront Cinema decided to stage the giveaway to help mark the first birthday of Parentzone.

Waterfront Cinema boss David Shaw said: “Susannah told me she could get people in and she has delivered.

“It has been fantastic and it is what we are all about, we are very much part of the community.

“We offered the free event to celebrate their first year.” Local businesswoman Siobhan Orr, who has benefited from Parentzone, also helped at the birthday bash by baking a cake.