West Midlands Mayor backs Wolverhampton's under-threat Light House
AN UNDER-threat cinema at risk from permanently closing its doors has received glowing praise from the region's mayor.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street pledged his support to Light House during a special visit to the Wolverhampton venue on Friday.
It comes after the Black Country's only independent cinema revealed it faces a funding crisis and could shut.
Mr Street said: "It was an inspiring visit. In a relatively small space there is just so much going on. This is really alive and vibrant.
"I would recommend to anyone living in Wolverhampton to come and have a look.
"It's so important because we all lead very busy lives and think about jobs and the economy, but really it's about social and cultural things that really give places a heart.
"It's a place where people come together and meet, and some of the people can be quite isolated."
A campaign, dubbed 'Save Light House', launched in July after news the cinema had been struggling since a £73,000 council subsidy was scrapped three years ago.
Ticket sales have since increased by 26 per cent, with at least a 20 per cent rise in social media followers of the cinema.
A new incentive scheme which will see customers rewarded for watching films and buying drinks also started this week.
Mr Street said he would now help raise awareness of the cinema's plight, as well as encouraging businesses to back the cause.
Kelly Jeffs, chief executive officer at Light House, said: "The public response has been incredible, but not a surprise, as we see everyday how much this place means to people, both as a cinema and as a unique community meeting place.
"The increase in admissions is currently keeping us open, however it is the major business investment to support us while we continue to grow and become sustainable, which is still crucially missing.
"Without that, we don't have a long term future.
"Thousands of people, from students to pensioners, are coming through our doors and the potential for branding and sponsorship is immense."