I am another one of us who stumbled into the industry many years ago (in the mid 90’s) and have now decided that I rather enjoy not only the industry, but also the people and the whole AV environment. I set up my business in 1993 and a few years later I began creating product brochures for Hi-Fi retailers such as Audio T and Rayleigh Hi-Fi. In 1999 I started 8 years of contracted work with CEDIA helping them with their Expo and from 2007 to 2020 I was Sales Manager of the ISE show in Amsterdam. Since then I have continued to run my own business in the AV industry and am proud to manage Together For Cinema full time with comprehensive backing from the AV industry.
With my background I am fortunate to know many people in the industry which has helped me co-ordinate the work that I have initiated with Together for Short Lives.
Together for Short Lives is the leading UK charity for all children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions and all those who support, love and care for them. They support families, professionals and services, including all 53 children’s hospice services. Their work helps to ensure that children can get the best possible care, wherever and whenever they need it.
In March of 2009 I was watching a programme called The Secret Millionaire and featured on this was a holiday home for terminally ill children and their families in Blackpool. I couldn’t help but be moved by this and rather than simply donate I contacted them to see if we (as the AV industry) could do anything to help. To cut a long story short about 12 months later we opened our first cinema room in one of the log cabins that had been donated by the Secret Millionaire. This success, and understanding of how the cinema was appreciated, led to me contacting Together for Short Lives to see if we could help any of the children’s hospice services that they support. After several meetings and conversations Together For Cinema was born and we set a target to complete 25 cinema room installations by the end of 2020. I'm proud to say that in September 2020 we hit this target with a total normal installation value of well over 1/2 million pounds.
I have been staggered by how the industry has got behind the work that we’re doing. Bearing in mind until February 2021 no money had ever changed hands (all expenses are met by the individuals themselves), the industry has really stepped up to help. Be it product donations from manufacturers and distributors, installation assistance or day to day Operational assistance, the industry has really embraced this work and I thank everyone who has played a part in making it happen. A big thank you must also go to the Steering Committee, my colleagues at CEDIA and of course to our sponsors as their support and willingness to help has been invaluable.
Wow...! Where do I begin? So many companies and individuals have helped that I’m frightened to mention anyone in fear of excluding someone who should be mentioned! What I will say is that there are about 20 installation companies that have stepped and project managed an installation. This is a huge undertaking and one that deserves special mention. The general feeling from all involved is that their involvement has had a profound effect on them personally and is a highlight in their installation portfolio.
As for product support, again, there really are too many to mention. There must now be over 100 different companies and/or brands that have donated, with many donating several times.
All companies involved are listed in the individual installation reports under the page headed 'Installations' so please do browse through these pages to see who has been involved. None of those involved have donated their time or their products to secure any exposure so I am comfortable not listing them here but credit where credit is due hence their listing in their respective Installation report.
The obvious statement to make is that so far we’ve achieved 25 Cinema Room installations in children’s hospices, where seriously ill children and their families can enjoy what we’ve made happen. Making a little bit of difference is a great thing and I know everyone involved has enjoyed their involvement. Beyond the 25 installs I think the industry has found a charitable route that sits comfortably with everyone, as it delivers our everyday work to children and families that need our support. This is reflected by the wonderful support that everyone offers.
To continue to bring the cinema into children’s hospice and other deserving facilities we intend to create many more cinema rooms. We have a new target and this is to recah a total of 50 cinema rooms by 2026. That's another 25 rooms in the next 5 years. Ambitious, but we will get there! To achieve this we need continued assistance and to have a bank of installers around the country ready to take on an install and a list of distributors and/or manufacturers ready to donate product. I am confiden that we have this in place but please do contact me if you are interested to help.
With 25 great installations behind us, combined with the industry support that Together For Cinema has generated, I'm delighted that the good work will continue. We are in discussions with some industry colleagues and organisations to see how we can best 'formalise' the work and secure the future of Together For Cinema. If we can do this our industry can continue to give a little back to those children and families that really need the joy of cinema to bring them together and maybe, just maybe, forget for a moment or two the day to day problems they have to deal so bravely with.
If you feel you can help secure the future of Together For Cinema please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.