LOCATION AND INTRODUCTION
The Milton site of the East Anglia Children’s Hospice group (EACH) is located in Milton, close to Cambridge. The EACH hospices aren’t just about end of life care; they’re often very happy and fun places, where young people can live life to their full potential. They are places where families feel safe, at home and where they can spend quality time together, enabling parents to be parents not caregivers. EACH care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk and support their families. Their family centred approach includes specialist nursing care, symptom management nursing, short breaks, wellbeing activities, therapies, counselling and volunteer services in the family home; all meeting the individual needs of the child, young person and whole family. Families are offered flexibility and control over where they receive their care and support, including where their child dies; at home, in hospital or at one of three hospices at Milton (Cambridge), The Nook (Norfolk), The Treehouse (Ipswich). More than half of our care and support is delivered in the family home and community, in surroundings familiar and comfortable for the family. The Milton hospice was the fourth children’s hospice ever built and has six bedrooms for children and four rooms for families to use for overnight stays. There is a multi-sensory room, hydrotherapy pool, music room, play room, teenage room, sensory garden, with specialist outdoor play equipment, and now a cinema room. www.each.org.uk
HOW INITIAL CONTACT WAS MADE
Having had some past contact with the EACH group I was contacted in March 2018 by the architect for their new facility called ‘The Nook’ in Framingham Earl in Norfolk. Over the next 3 months we had several discussions and scheduled meetings but sadly we were unable to pull it together. In June 2018 we made contact with the EACH facility in Milton. It was quickly apparent that we could help and in November we had a meeting onsite with the EACH staff and Ashley Shorey-Mills from Hughes Smart in Ipswich, our volunteer installer. This meeting went well and we soon set about a plan to have the cinema room installed no later than Christmas 2019.
HOW THE INSTALLER WAS FOUND
Over the years past 10 years Together For Cinema has gathered many contacts who have kindly offered assistance with product donations or the actual installation itself. Sadly we didn’t have many installer contacts in the Cambridgeshire area. However… CEDIA have always offered to help in whatever way they could, and one phone call to Matt Nimmons, their EMEA Managing Director, soon gave me a couple of CEDIA installer member contacts to approach. My first call was to Ashley Shorey-Mills at Hughes Smart and we had found our installation partner. Ashley was delighted to have the chance to help at the Milton children’s hospice and was keen to start the process.
INITIAL MEETING AND SPECIFICATION
Having pulled the team together in June it wasn’t until November 14th that we finally met on site in Milton. Ashley and I met with Mike Higgins, EACH’s Service Manager, and viewed a couple of possible rooms that we might be able to work with. It quickly became apparent that there was only one option but there were challenges… With space at any children’s hospice at a premium it is important for some areas to be multifunctional and of course accessible. Therefore the installation of screens, projectors, speakers etc…, can sometimes prove to be challenging to say the least! However, solutions were found and Ashley soon had a vision of what would work. This was passed by Mike at EACH and myself and we were all on board to make it happen!
SOURCING OF PRODUCT
With the room limiting to a degree what we could install this was not too much of a challenging kit list to achieve. Still, it all needs to be gathered and Ashley and I set about drawing up what we needed and who we best felt it to approach. Needless to say, and thanks to fabulous support, our preferred kit list was soon achieved and we had the promise of support for all the items required. Over the past 10 years Together For Cinema has become increasingly recognised as a positive industry movement and hence product support is easier to secure. Several companies have become ‘Go To’ for certain products and this always gives us a good start when starting a new appeal. Thank you again to all who donated… it really is great to work in an industry that is receptive to support such a worthwhile cause.
Monday 7th October, 2019
INSTALL COMPLETED AND FINAL SIGN OFF
Wednesday 9th October, 2019
On Friday 8th November there was a Cinema Opening at the EACH Milton site. There were representatives from CEDIA and the main companies involved in making the cinema room happen. Mike Higgins and his colleagues from EACH kindly looked after us with some fabulous snacks (including the best sausage roll I think I’ve ever tasted!) and some soft drinks. We were all given a demo of the new cinema and I have to say it looked and sounded excellent!! It’s just a shame that we couldn’t stay for the evening performance of Aladdin, accompanied by a pizza dinner. I’m not sure there would have been enough room as apparently there was big demand to attend! Hughes Smart really delivered in overcoming some challenging issues such as the hoist system in the room that meant only an ultra-short throw projector could be used and this was key to the installation… Thank you Optoma for kindly donating this as the installation could not have happened without it.. The tension screen looked great and the RTI control worked seamlessly. Unsurprisingly the discrete Harman speakers sounded great and were ably assisted by an Arcam AV Receiver. After the opening Rachel and Lottie kindly gave us a quick tour of the hospice and it really is a fabulous facility that makes an incredible difference to so many children and their families in the area.
"Where do we start…. When Ian first approached me about this type of project, it didn’t take long before my simple answer was YES. This type of charity work, pretty much sums up how special people can be sometimes, and so to be asked to be part of it was an honour. After first speaking with Ian, and then heading to visit the Milton site with Mike and his team at EACH, we were able to get some really good ideas together on what was possible, and how we could put something in place that would really make a difference. Our key aim was to do something that added a wow, but didn’t need to be over complicated or exuberant. The room itself, didn’t really have an identity, so being able to install this cinema room has really added a special feeling to a room that lacked any distinct purpose, but without taking away from the needs of the people who spend their time at the hospice. The major challenge we faced, aside from ensuring worked together perfectly by any person who wished to use it, was allowing the use of the hoists in the room, as these had to remain to ensure everyone could enjoy the rooms uses. Installing a projector, in a room needing hoists to be able to travel freely was an obvious barrier, but by utilizing a short throw projector, and suitable speakers and furniture, we were able to give the residents the large screen enjoyment they wanted. What we still wanted to ensure, is that the room was as multi use as possible, so in addition to the cinema screen and projection, we installed the existing large screen TV on a side wall, enabling the room to still be used on a daily basis for watching TV. This ensures the room has maximum usage at all times. Overall, we are so pleased with how this installation has gone, and how happy the team at EACH are with what we have tried to do for them. Quite frankly, what we do, and how hard we work, is not even a patch on what the staff and children at EACH experience day in day out, so being able to give some aspect of a warm feeling and positivity that they can enjoy made our year, and we are immensely proud of what the teams at EACH do around our region. Thank you."
Ashley Shorey-Mills, Director, Hughes Smart
"When my director of care first approached me about a chap who wanted to donate some AV tech, my first thoughts were ‘do we really need another widescreen TV!’ However dutifully Ian and I got in touch with one another and it quickly became apparent to me that this was not going to be another flat screen TV. Ian, representatives from Hughes Smart, EACH facilities and myself met onsite to explore and discuss what may be possible and from their an exciting and rewarding journey was begun. From the tech side Ashley and his company really did a fantastic job not only in terms of sourcing the tech, not only in terms of the install which was faultless but also in terms of their positivity and ‘can do’ attitude, it was almost as if there was nothing they couldn’t make happen. From the perspective of EACH this has really inspired and mobilised some fantastic ideas in the team and we are currently exploring how we can run evening and matinee showings for our service users, we are exploring how we can make birthday parties a possibility for young people so that they can come to the hospice with a group of friends and share a movie experience in an environment that can cater for their unique medical and care needs whilst supporting them to access a ‘normal’ social experience that most families take for granted. Film and movies have often featured as a notable part of lots of end of life care that we deliver as it is something the whole family can enjoy ad share in dark and difficult times, providing a couple of hours escape from what is happening around them. Frequently young people have also identified a film they would like to watch before they become to poorly and/or die and we will now be able to do this in a truly special way. We are currently exploring ways in which we can build links within the film industry networks to support us with accessing films for these very special circumstances and this is something we would like to build on as we move forward. The flexibility of what has been done isn’t just limited to film, it also works for young people who enjoy gaming or even to provide a sensory experience for children with communication and/or sensory impairments who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access various experiences we might think of as common place. Through the use of specially produced DVDs such as scuba diving expeditions, safaris, steam train journeys or trips to the seaside we can support access to a wide range of experiences. The opportunities are limited only by our imaginations. When I first met Ian I recall him saying that his measure of success is when people have received support from him come back to ask how they can get the projector bulb replaced as this is a sign that it is being well used and well loved. We have been told they last at least 2-3 years on average so we will have to see how close we can get to that."
Mike Higgins, Service Manager, East Anglia Children’s Hospice.
KIT LIST THAT WAS DONATED
On top of the list above many other products and accessories were generously donated by Hughes Smart.
PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MAKING IT HAPPEN
THANK YOU…, you have all helped create a little bit of magic at EACH in Milton.
All products and associated services were sourced, supplied and installed free of any charge. The approximate total cost of the install, including consultation, installation, products and any other associated costs would normally have been in the region of £12,000 for an end user price.
I left the opening event on Friday November 8th with a spring in my step knowing that the new cinema room at EACH in Milton will be used and enjoyed on a regular basis. The staff’s plans included all sorts of exciting themed nights, regular screenings, as well as quiet escapism for parents and siblings. The depth of the potential was clearly explained with great enthusiasm and excitement. Moments like this make all the hard work all the more worthwhile… Thank you to the Smart Hughes installation team for making this happen and working around the logistical challenges in the room. It’s a great end result and one that will make a positive difference for years to come. Think they might come back to you before you know if for a new bulb though! This was Together For Cinema’s 24th cinema room installation into a children’s hospice or respite home. With our target of 25 completed installations by 2020 we will now focus on Number 25 which will be at The White Lodge Centre in Chertsey, Surrey, which will be installed before Christmas 2019.., therefore our target will have been achieved! However, what happens now…? Having spent 10 years of my life managing Together For Cinema, and now having achieved what I set out to achieve, I think it’s time somebody else stepped up and made this happen… With the amazing support that has been given by many of the AV industry it would need to be someone or an organisation with good general contacts in the industry. As Pink Floyd once said…, ‘Is there anybody out there?’…
Report Created by Ian Morrish. All quotes to be from Ian Morrish, unless otherwise stated.
For further details please contact Ian at:- Work: 01372 454366 ♦ Mobile: 07768 398007 ♦ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org