Kings Cinema in Kingsbridge is one of fourteen cinemas in the South West set to become an Employee Ownership Trust.

Cinema operator Merlin Cinemas announced that ownership of the company is being transferred from the existing managing director, Geoff Greaves, to an Employee Ownership Trust. The trust will protect the interests of the 320 people who work in the company's cinemas and restaurants.

Geoff Greaves will stay with the company in a new supporting role with the intention of a gradual transition to retirement. Craig May, the co-director of the company, will become the managing director. Daisy Wren and Chris Lawrence, both long-serving senior management employees, will be newly appointed as directors and continue to drive the cinema group forward.

Geoff Greaves, the founder, said: “This is a fantastic and exciting route to protect the company and our ethos and to reward all those people who together have been part of the success in bringing the magic of the movies to so many people around the UK. I have always believed that the best place to see a film is at the cinema. It’s memorable and sociable, and without their own cinema locally, people just don’t go very often, which is why I believe so much in cinema being local and engaged in the community.”

An Employee Ownership Trust offers several benefits to staff, such as financial rewards through bonuses or profit-sharing schemes and job security, as decisions are often made with the interest of the workforce in mind.