Funding boost for Wolverhampton’s Light House cinema.
Light House Cinema and Café Bar in Wolverhampton has received positive funding news as it looks towards a possible reopening following enforced closure during the Coronavirus pandemic. The independent cinema and venue has received a resilience grant from the British Film Institute and National Lottery, which will help support the cost of fixed overheads and enable their CEO to work with the board of trustees on a reopening strategy.
CEO Kelly Jeffs says: “We are proud recipients of the BFI FAN (Film Audience Network) Covid-19 Resilience Fund, and we’re very grateful to the BFI Film Audience Network and National Lottery for their support at this uncertain time. Ironically, our enforced closure comes on the back of a really successful end to 2019, which saw record-breaking ticket sales at Light House.
“As a charity we’re dependent on ticket sales and donations to stay operational, so for our main source of income to be suddenly cut off was a devastating blow. This funding will go some way towards helping us investigate ways of reopening and explore ways that we can continue to bring our fantastic programme of films and events to the people of Wolverhampton. We’re looking forward to welcoming back our audience and supporters when it’s safe to do so.”
The BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience Fund was administered through each of FAN’s regional and national based Film Hubs, working with the BFI, set up to support exhibitors and festivals which have faced unprecedented challenges, with many at risk of making staff redundant and permanent closure. The Independent Cinema Office conducted a survey – Reopening Cinemas the Independent Way – to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the independent exhibition industry. It found only 59% of respondents considered they could reopen with social measures in place, with 63% stating they could survive for only three months. Almost half of the 59% believe they will be able to open in September at the earliest.
Light House is also encouraging people who might otherwise be planning to visit the cinema to consider purchasing a ‘virtual ticket’ – donating the cost of a cinema ticket to their charity. This can be done through their website www.light-house.co.uk or by visiting www.localgiving.org and searching for Light House Media Centre.