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Wellington's community cinema launches new investment scheme

A much loved community-owned Telford cinema is launching a new way for people to invest in its future.

The Orbit community cinema in Wellington is launching a share scheme
The Orbit community cinema in Wellington is launching a share scheme

Wellington Orbit is this week launching its community share offer, with the eventual aim of raising another £143,000 towards owning the freehold of the building and redeveloping the upper floors to enhance facilities available to the community.

The concept of being funded by the local community is familiar to the cinema, having been originally launched this way back in 2013.

The cinema has more than 800 members, including locals and not so local supporters such as Ken Loach. They put money into the Save the Clifton project and six years later, a cinema and café opened in the heart of the town, next to the railway station.

The ‘Phase II’ project aims to see the rest of the building open to the public.

On the back of the recent Levelling Up Fund (LUF) bid for £1.4 million to acquire the freehold of the building and develop the upper floors into a multi-use arts centre, Wellington Orbit needs to find around £143,000 of match funding.

Finance director Ray Hughes said: “Having spent the last two months working on the bid, we have already had new investment from existing members.

"This has put us in a great position in terms of the bid match-funding requirement, should we be successful. If we are not we will need the match funding amount to at least secure the freehold.

“Social investing is unlike buying shares in a company in three main ways.

"Firstly, shares attract no dividend payments which company shares may do. This ensures money is kept in and for Wellington.

"Secondly, regardless of how many shares an individual owns, one member gets one vote."

He added that the one-member one-vote scheme helps protect the the organisation and the cinema from people who may have their own agenda.

"Finally, buying shares, even just at the minimum investment level of just £10 is a personal declaration that you support our aim of making Wellington a better place for the whole community," said Mr Hughes.

“Our LUF matched target is £143,000 and we have just hit £114,000 after only 10 weeks from current members.

"The share offer will run until the end of November 2022 and each new member really helps us prove the demand for the facilities we’re planning to offer and supports our contingency planning.”

It's simple to buy shares in Wellington Orbit, you don’t need a stockbroker or a share dealing account to acquire your share certificate.

Simply complete an application form at wellingtonorbit.co.uk and pay for your shares by bank transfer or drop in and pay over the counter.

If you are already a member you are able to buy further shares as part of this offer to support the expansion of the business.

What are Community Shares?

Community Share schemes are a great way of funding projects that benefit the community. They enable communities to invest in projects that matter to them and can be used to save local shops, sports clubs and pubs, and to transform community facilities.

What type of shares are they?

The value of each share issued is £1. The shares are not transferable, except in case of death or bankruptcy. They are withdrawable shares.

Who can buy shares?

Applications are open to individuals over 16 years old

What will the money be spent on?

Aspirations are to own the freehold of the building and redevelop the upper floors to enhance the facilities available to the community.

How long do I invest for?

You don’t have to invest your money forever. Investment withdrawals will be allowable once the financial security is secured or you can keep your shares invested for a longer period.

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