One year after the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign achieved its immediate goal of re-opening the arthouse cinema in the Clocktower, it has now formed itself into a Community Interest Company, or CIC.
The move will enable the group of cinema enthusiasts and residents to take on staff and move ever-closer to having the cinema operate on a full-time basis.
It is a notable step forward for the campaign group, which was formed following an article on Inside Croydon in 2011 when the previous, Tory-run council decided to close the cinema, despite widespread protests from hundreds of Council Tax-payers and the likes of Conservative peer Julian Fellowes and Croydon resident Ronnie Corbett.
After three years of campaigning and organising, the cinema campaigners were allowed access to the venue again in April last year, initially staging screenings once a week, something which they have successfully expanded upon since.
Given the extensive cuts in Government grants to councils, it seems unlikely for the foreseeable future that arts infrastructure such as the David Lean Cinema will be run by the council, and having the Campaign registered as a CIC will assist in it further expanding the use of the much-appreciated facility.
John Ingman, the Campaign secretary, told Inside Croydon: “CICs are a type of limited company for people who wish to set up businesses with a social purpose – social enterprises – or carry out other activities for the benefit of the community. They have to meet a community interest test – that is, all their activities are or will be carried out for the benefit of the community – and they must use their assets for this purpose.
“As far as we are concerned, the change will make it easier to operate the campaign bank account and make contracts with film distributors and other suppliers – and if we had to cease operations, there would be a clear procedure for winding up our work.
“Moreover, we can now employ staff and we hope to make appointments shortly. This should enable us to expand further the Campaign’s activities, although much of our work will continue to be done by volunteers on whom we rely and to whom we are very grateful.”
Whether any of this will help the Campaign discover what the council did with the cinema’s front-row seats remains to be seen.
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