Wolverhampton Light House cinema launches £10k fundraising campaign to reopen post-lockdown

A struggling independent cinema in the Black Country has launched a campaign to raise £10,000 to help get the venue ready to reopen post-pandemic.

The Light House
The Light House

Light House in Wolverhampton city centre has still not reopened – or set a date to reopen – following lockdown, despite other cinemas nearby being able to do so.

The charity, which relies on funding and grants from supporters, as well as help from volunteers, wants to make the venue Covid-safe before officially opening its doors.

But to do so, it desperately needs more funding – and has launched the Crowdfunder campaign Help Us Switch The Lights Back On to raise money to cover the costs of extra cleaning and specialist equipment to meet government guidelines.

It's another blow to the beloved independent cinema, which started a campaign last year called Save The Light House, after one of its major grants was pulled and the future of the venue was placed in jeopardy.

Light House CEO Kelly Jeffs said: "The enforced closure of cinemas, social spaces and cafes in March meant all of our revenue streams came to a sudden halt.

"We've been successful in a bid to the BFI and National Lottery which has enabled me to return to work remotely and I'm in the process of applying for a share of the £1.5 billion Culture Recovery Fund announced by the Government.

"However, in order to make our beautiful venue Covid-safe ahead of reopening, we are asking for donations to help fund the bespoke cleaning solutions, sanitiser points and signage that we will need to keep our customers and staff as safe as possible."

The charity has been working with local business EnPro Group to investigate what is required for keeping its auditoriums and social spaces Covid-secure.

A performance by the Cosford Military Wives Choir at Light House, Wolverhampton

Kelly added: "We've had fantastic support from people in the past, and while we appreciate that times are difficult for everyone at the moment, we're hopeful that we'll be able to raise the money required.

"We've called the campaign 'Help Us Switch The Lights Back On', and I'm looking forward to the day when we'll be able to do just that and welcome everyone back."

The independent cinema, based in the Chubb Buildings in Fryer Street, has been closed since lockdown began in March and has stayed shut despite venues now being allowed to open.

Earlier this year it received a resilience grant from the British Film Institute and National Lottery to help during lockdown but the venue's financial difficulties pre-date coronavirus.

The Light House has been struggling since it lost a council subsidy worth £73,000 a year in 2015 and was on the brink of closure in 2018.

A Save Light House campaign was started in a bid to help the venue, which has two cinema screens, two galleries, a cafe bar and indoor courtyard.

The cinema then set up a Crowdfunder in March last year – which they named Project Bright – with bosses hoping to raise £5,000 in total.

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