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Coming soon to the Lexi: Second screen at Kensal Green boutique cinema secures Brent Council's seal of approval

PUBLISHED: 16:58 10 September 2019

An artist's impression of what the Lexi cinema will look like once the new screen is built. Picture: Rise Design Studio

An artist's impression of what the Lexi cinema will look like once the new screen is built. Picture: Rise Design Studio

SRH

The Lexi is on a mission to raise half a million pounds, now that plans for a second screen have been given the go-ahead by Brent Council.

The Lexi CinemaThe Lexi Cinema

An additional auditorium has been a "long-cherished dream" for the founders of the social enterprise who opened the boutique cinema in Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Green a decade ago.

Architects at Rise Design Studio in Queen's Park have worked on a pro-bono basis for the Lexi - which donates all its profits to charity - to come up with plans for a sustainable sunken building to minimise its impact. Solar panels will generate renewable energy to operate the additional screen, and energy use will be minimised through an insulating "green roof" and a windowless screening space to reduce heat loss. Bricks from the boundary wall will be reused in the new build.

Planning permission was granted on August 27, and now £500,000 is needed to build it, which will be sought through grants and crowd-funding.

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The hope is to open in 2020 during Brent's year as Borough of Culture.

A spokesperson told the Times: "Expansion would permit us to do more of what we do so well, and it makes good business sense - permitting broader programming and allowing us to serve additional special interest groups.

"We already have a broad community agenda, with dedicated screenings for hard of hearing audiences, seniors, refugee women,and families with children with additional needs.

"The Lexi started as a dream of founder Sally Wilton and establishing the business as a social enterprise which donates 100pc of its profits to our chosen charity has given the cinema a unique identity. We are very proud of the community that has grown up around the cinema - people who share a love of film and an appreciation of what good can be achieved while having a good time."

They plan to use the new space to reach out to other special interest groups, like families with autistic members, and want to also develop a Brent-centred filmmakers' hub there.

The cinema is run by a team of 50 volunteers and go towards The Sustainability Institute in South Africa, which funds a crèche and after-school clubs to keep vulnerable teens occupied, and provides school meals for children who might otherwise go hungry.

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