Wolverhampton's Light House facing closure over funding crisis
The Light House in Wolverhampton city centre could be put at risk of closure as it faces a funding crisis, bosses say.
Chief executive, Kelly Jeffs, has now issued a desperate call to businesses and residents to help safeguard one of the city’s most ‘cherished assets.’
Kelly said it’s the ‘same story’ today as it was three years ago, in 2015, when Wolverhampton council pulled the charity’s £73,000 subsidy and the cinema was on the brink of collapse.
The Light House is a registered charity based in the historic Chubb Buildings since 1991. It features an independent cinema, cafe bar and galleries.
The venue shows current films, streamed live theatre and hosts community events.
But it has been struggling ever since it lost a council subsidy in 2015 worth £73,000 a year.
Kelly said: “The bottom line is we need support,” she said. “If we want to continue we need help, this is a call for help. Outwardly we are thriving. But in the back office, we are very cash poor.”
The cinema has achieved a 12 per cent increase in admissions during the past year.
However, with the loss of public funding and cultural grants, this does not cover costs. Kelly added: “Now that the public funding has gone we have to rely more on donations as well as ticket sales.
“Sadly this still isn’t enough and until we can successfully source extra income through either business sponsorship or higher levels of active donations then reality will bite hard and Wolverhampton will be at risk of losing one of its most cherished and shining cultural assets.”
The Light House has a part-time admin assistant, part-time marketing manager, part-time projectionist, and then rotating cinema, bar, and cafe staff.
However there are just two managerial staff, Kelly and an operation manager Jas Kapur. And the chief executive said the lack of behind the scenes staff prevented them from networking to the best of their ability, to try and attract sponsors.
She said: “Because we are such a small team, it’s difficult for us to form these relationships. I think our profile has improved phenomenally over the last 18 months though. We are trying really hard to get out there and get businesses to see us as an asset. The cinema is a fantastic line of income but we can’t replace £80,000 to £100,000 with just cinema tickets.”
The cinema was named Community Contributor of the Year at the Wolverhampton Independent Retail Excellence (WIRE) Awards last week.
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