Adrian Winchester, the founding chairman of the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign which successfully lobbied for the re-opening of the arthouse venue in the Clocktower last year, is to stand down from his position after more than four years’ hard – and voluntary – work.
Winchester made the announcement to the Campaign’s 1,200 supporters in a statement which accompanied the news that he (as the newly appointed “Campaign Director”) and two others were to become the group’s first part-time employees since it became a Community Interest Company, or CIC, last month.
It was Winchester’s emails to respond to an Inside Croydon article in April 2011 which provided the inspiration for establishing a campaign to re-open the David Lean Cinema, after the previous council administration had made the ill-considered decision to shut its doors as a cost-cutting measure.
Adrian Winchester was the first to respond to the call from Corbett, who said, “We must start a campaign so that this darling place isn’t trashed.” Together with Inside Croydon, and with support from Shirley Life, Winchester set-up the Facebook page, launched a petition, a Twitter account was established, and a public meeting was held, in the upstairs room of the Green Dragon pub. The Campaign was born.
Winchester’s decision to stand down now, just as the organisation is embarking on its next phase of its development as a CIC, has not been taken lightly. “It’s frustrating as I feel I can provide skills and experience that would be helpful in taking the David Lean Cinema forward,” Winchester told Inside Croydon, “but I simply can’t afford to do it for much longer.”
From June 1, Winchester will have 10 hours paid work per week for the David Lean Cinema – probably on top of many more hours’ work as he has been doing for the Campaign, to the exclusion of almost all else, since 2011.
The Campaign’s other appointments are Stephen Furley as chief projectionist (for seven hours per week), and a six-hour-per-week admin assistant in David Lavelli.
In a statement to members, the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign directors said, “These appointments reflect the contribution being made by these individuals – a contribution which goes well beyond that normally expected of volunteers. Even now, their pay will not fully remunerate them for the time they spend and the responsibilities they hold.
“But the directors of the company see this as a step towards rewarding them properly for their work. These posts also establish an initial structure that should help us to maintain our operations in future.”
Winchester said, “I foolishly let the Campaign largely take over my life and what began as a career break of sorts became seriously extended – but we all share a sense of the David Lean Cinema being a special ’cause’, and giving up in failure would have been heartbreaking. But the price of some degree of success has, in my case, been seriously depleted savings and a lack of house maintenance.
“I’m reaching the point where I urgently need to return to full-time employment in order to fund the house repairs and other work that will be needed, plus I also need to re-start my pension contributions to avoid other serious consequences.
“Leaving the campaign director position and reducing my input to the Campaign is a step I’ll take with immense regret, but in the meantime I’ll strive to make our first months as a CIC as successful as possible.”
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