Lighthouse & Afrori Books
Afrori Books recently announced news about the next phase for their bookshop, including information about Lighthouse and our role as a landlord of 28 Kensington Street. There are some points we’d like to clarify regarding our partnership.
Driven by the same charitable aims that guide our programming and how we work with artists in our community, in 2021 we offered Afrori a temporary rent-free space in our reception to help catalyse a business, to build a community, and try out new ideas. The agreement was for:
12 months rent-free use of our reception space, on a non-exclusive basis
Lighthouse donating £1000 towards the cost of setting up the space, including the purchase of bookshelves
At the end of the twelve months in October 2022, we agreed to another six months rent-free, until the end of March 2023. With energy costs escalating however, we mutually agreed that the bookshop would cover the service charge costs in their space for heating, cleaning and other utilities.
At the end of that same month, Lighthouse received the news that our core funder was withdrawing their support from the end of March 2023. The demand for core funding in the art scene is exceptionally high, and like many other not-for-profit arts organisations, we must now look for other sources of revenue to sustain our charitable work.
Since November 2022 we’ve had to make several changes within the premises to generate income to help offset the loss of this funding, including the Lighthouse team moving out of our own office. Unfortunately, offering space rent-free to other businesses is no longer financially feasible. This regrettable change in position was communicated to Afrori Books in December, to give them three and a half months notice under the current agreement while they find a new home.
These represent significant changes for Lighthouse, and we are very sorry that there have been knock-on effects for others also. The decisions we have made have not been taken lightly.
We are proud and honoured to have had Afrori Books based at Lighthouse and to have played a part in their transition from an online business to a popular physical shop and community hub. Carolynn and her team are incredible, and Afrori Books is a much needed addition to the city. We will continue to support them as they find a suitable space and move forward to bigger and better things.