- Amanda Mason
Chairs Report for the AGM
Updated: Mar 30, 2022
Recap of the past period
In the period from 1st December 2020 – April 2021 the company was focused on:
● Agreeing the terms of the lease for the Old Library building on the High Street with the local authority. The lease was signed on 22nd April and the sub lease for the upper floors was signed a month later.
● During this time another fundraising project with Spacehive was progressing.
From May to September 2021 our activities have included:
● Running a second successful crowdfunding campaign and raising over 63K for building our first screen.
● Engaging 120 volunteers to assist in clearing/cleaning/painting the premises.
● Managing various contractors to construct the cinema on the ground floor.
● Building a 72 seat pop-up cinema.
● Employing three venue managers and three relief managers
● Engaging another team of volunteers to support sales and Front of House.
● Building local relationships with housing associations, schools and other groups to further our reach.
● Developing our box office and booking website.
We opened a cinema, a community cafe and a multifunctional space on October 8th 2021
● This was achieved against the background of the worst public health crisis of the last century, with numerous restrictions and worsening of the economic outlook.
Activities since we opened (October 2021-March 2022)
● Since opening the building – in addition to the cinema – we have hosted a photography exhibition, taken part in the Ealing Art Beat exhibition and Open House 2021, and housed children's theatre classes, street dancing classes and swing-dance classes.
● As well as regular cinema screenings, we have started several cinema projects including screenings for parents with babies and neurodiverse audiences and a special evening event with local filmmaker Tony Palmer.
● We are participating with the INTOFILM project that reaches out to bring local school children to cinema.
● The community cafe run by local firm Bears is now open daily from 10am.
● The local community remains at the heart of our project:
o We have 5000 subscribers to our website.
o We have engaged and vocal support on social media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) including the country’s foremost film critic Mark Kermode
o Since opening we have engaged 123 volunteers, who have contributed 632 hours of their time to helping the cinema operate smoothly.
o The local community supported two funding campaigns.
● The tenants and partners in our project:
o The cinema operator - Regal Community Cinema Ltd
o The food and beverages company - Bears
o The tenants of the upper floors of the building - Global Skills
● The Architectural Heritage Fund has provided invaluable advice, support and match funding.
● The GLA has contributed £30,000 to our crowdfunding for the construction of the cinema.
● LB Ealing (Council officers as well as political leaders) remains our key partner, they own the lease and worked with us tirelessly to refine our business plan.
● Dr Rupa Huq, MP remains a tireless advocate.
● Locality continued to support and advise the company.
● We maintain very high visitor satisfaction (4.9 stars on Google reviews).
● The cinema has an occupancy rate of 49% - excellent for a new venture and well above the national screen average
● The financial team can report a satisfactory financial status.
● Two directors have resigned - we thank them for their tireless efforts. We recruited 4 new directors, bringing in fresh talent while assuring we were more representative of our community.
● For 2022 and beyond we are focused on:
o Ensuring the project remains financially stable
o Ensuring we are meeting the needs of the whole community
o Driving regeneration of our building and neighbourhood
o Ensuring we provide a first class cinema service
o Ensuring we provide an excellent day-to-day experience
● We know that a single screen cinema is not an economically viable project so we are planning a second one, which will involve significant fundraising.