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Lexi Cinema secures £435,000 in grants towards its £531,000 target to open a community hub in Kensal Rise

PUBLISHED: 12:12 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:12 12 March 2020

The Lexi team with community partners and Brent Council councillors, and the Lexi team

The Lexi team with community partners and Brent Council councillors, and the Lexi team

Archant

A community cinema in Kensal Rise has less than £30,000 to raise so it can open a hub following a £435,000 boost in 24 hours.

The Lexi CinemaThe Lexi Cinema

The Lexi Cinema, in Chamberlayne Road, launched a crowdfunding campaign to tackle isolation and loneliness through a new Lexi Hub.

Brent Council awarded the team a neighbourhood community levy grant £385,000 on March 9.

The following day the Mayor of London pledged £50,000 towards the appeal through his Crowdfund London programme.

Added to the £70,000 already raised by the cinema means that only another £30,000 will meet the Lexi's overall target of £530,628.

Sally Wilton, founder of The Lexi, said she was 'absolutely thrilled' with the funding adding: ' We believe film can change lives, and cinema has a place at the heart of our community.

'Our neighbourhood has seen a massive increase in population over the past decade. Overcrowding means increased loneliness and isolation - this makes The Lexi Hub project vital.

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'Whether you were born and bred in Kensal Rise, or you've just arrived and want to make friends, whether you're a refugee mum, one of our wonderful local seniors, or a young filmmaker looking for a place to screen your first short film: The Lexi Hub will have space for you and a friendly welcome.'

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 The Sustainability Institute in South Africa.

The hub will boast a green roof, solar panels and will provide 2,000 hours of extra community activities, screenings and volunteering opportunities each year.

Cinema staff are currently running a pilot with a GP surgery to encourage people at risk of social isolation to engage with the community.

Lexi customer John Kohut, said: 'Most of the people who work at the ticket desk and bar are volunteers, however they operate like professionals.

'As volunteers, of course, they do not get paid. They are incentivised, but not by money, salaries or bonuses determined by how many tickets or bags of popcorn they sell, but by their own devotion to the cinema and community.'

Brent Council's regeneration chief Cllr Shama Tatler, said the Lexi does 'fantastic community work'.

Jules Pipe, City Hall's deputy mayor regeneration, added: 'This is a great example of how Londoners can take a lead in shaping the future of the capital.'

To donate go to spacehive.com/thelexihub


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