Prime Minister awards founder of Lexi Cinema in Kensal Rise
PUBLISHED: 17:52 12 February 2016 | UPDATED: 18:09 12 February 2016
Crown Copyright 2016
The founder of the UK's first social enterprise cinema in Kensal Rise has been rewarded for her outstanding charitable work by the Prime Minister David Cameron.
Sally Wilton, founder of the Lexi Cinema in Chamberlayne Road, recieved her a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, fromTulip Siddiq, Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn.
Ms Wilton said: “I am honoured to accept this award which I do on behalf of my fabulous management team and wonderful volunteers. Without them we could never make the difference that we do both within our local community and in South Africa.”
The 60-year-old business woman was inspired to create the Lexi when Kensal Rise was hit by a tornado in 2006 while she was visiting The Sustainability Institute, a project in South Africa which the cinema is partnered with.
The popular cinema is run by volunteers with all its profits going to support children and their families in Lynedoch Village in the Stellenbosch region of the country.
The project provides school meals for children, supports a creche and runs after school clubs to keep vulnerable teenagers can learn filmmaking. Solar power and water management systems for the village are also being developed.
Such are the bonds between Kensal Rise and Lynedoch Village that residents are travelling out to South Africa and volunteering directly with the community they are supporting.
She has continued to look for innovative ways to expand the project and in 2010 added The Nomad - London’s first wandering cinema. Mr Cameron said: “With The Lexi Cinema, Sally has created a fantastic hub for her local community which has inspired hundreds of people to give their time to volunteer. The huge amount of money the cinema has helped to raise is also making a real difference to communities in South Africa through The Sustainability Institute. I am delighted to recognise Sally as the UK’s 467th Point of Light.”
Ms Siddiq added: “Sally is an inspiration to so many and fully merits the Points of Light award from the Prime Minister.
“The Lexi Cinema provides a template for aspiring social entrepreneurs everywhere, showing how the passions of local residents can be utilised for humanitarian purposes.
“Sally’s personal drive and selflessness underpins an incredible success story, with projects in South Africa transforming children’s’ lives and the dozens of committed volunteers providing a treasured service in Kensal Rise. The Lexi is an institution. “I want to wish Sally my sincerest congratulations for this deserved accolade.”
The award, which has been developed in partnership with the Points of Light programme in the USA, was first established by former President George Bush.
Both Mr Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK.