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Construction of new Lexi Hub begins in Kensal Rise

PUBLISHED: 11:26 05 August 2020

Lexi employee Carin Von Drehle and the construction team building the Lexi Hub. Picture: Lexi

Lexi employee Carin Von Drehle and the construction team building the Lexi Hub. Picture: Lexi

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Construction of a Kensal Rise cinema’s community hub has begun after a successful fundraising campaign.

Sally Wilton, Lexi founder, and Rosie Greatorex, Lexi manager begin construction of Lexi Hub. Picture: LexiSally Wilton, Lexi founder, and Rosie Greatorex, Lexi manager begin construction of Lexi Hub. Picture: Lexi

The Lexi Cinema in Chamberlayne Road has begun building the Lexi Hub after raising £526,000 over a two-year campaign.

The new hub is projected to welcome visitors early next year.

Brent Council leaders and community partners, joined cinema staff and the build team on July 29 to celebrate the start of the six-month construction project.

Sally Wilton, founder of The Lexi, said: “The borough of Brent has been hit hard by Covid-19 and, while a return to normality is still a while away, hopefully the ground-breaking ceremony marks the beginning of a new chapter for both The Lexi and the local community.

Brent Council's Cllr Muhammed Butt, Cllr Krupesh Hirani and regeneration director Alice Lester at Lexi Hub construction launch. Picture: LexiBrent Council's Cllr Muhammed Butt, Cllr Krupesh Hirani and regeneration director Alice Lester at Lexi Hub construction launch. Picture: Lexi

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“We have been overwhelmed by the support of council members, the Mayor’s office and – most importantly – local residents throughout the fundraising campaign and can’t thank everyone enough.”

Twenty jobs have been formed, while Kilburn architects RISE Design Studios is in charge of development.

The hub is being built from reclaimed materials including a green roof and solar panels, and will bring twice as many films per year to the community as well as 25 extra volunteering opportunities, 3,860 additional places per year for local schools and nurseries, and 1,649 additional places on community projects.

Lexi staff secured £385,000 from Brent Council’s NCIL fund by demonstrating that a community cinema is a valuable cultural space, while £141,000 was raised by the cinema’s local supporters and £50,000 from the Mayor of London’s ‘Crowdfund London’ programme.

Opened in 2008, the Lexi is the UK’s first social enterprise cinema and is run by a team of 50 local volunteers, with all profits going directly to charitable causes.

It offers mainstream, independent and world cinema, and hosts special screenings including black history studies, a women-only refugee film club, a neighbourhood film school and events for LGBT seniors, carers and the hard of hearing.

Ms Wilton added: “We very much look forward to seeing as many of you as possible upon our reopening in mid-September and can’t wait to share the benefits of the new Hub with you all from early next year.”


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