Six years on from the seeds of Together For Cinema being sewn, and I am pleased to report that we are on track to have 25 cinema rooms completed in 25 different children’s hospices within the United Kingdom. As of now, we have completed 13 installs, and two more are due for completion by the end of summer 2015. This will take us up to 15, meaning that we will need to complete 2 a year over the next 5 years.
The support from the industry has been staggering. So far, almost 70 manufacturers and distributors have donated product and 13 installers have given up their time to project manage and install.
Beyond the product and time donations, there are several other companies that have offered their services at no charge and are integral to the success of Together For Cinema.
On a personal level,it was sitting with my wife, and two boys at Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice near Cardiff for the opening of their new cinema room. After a few words from various people, we sat down as a family and watched several movie clips and a short Ty Hafan appeal video with several other families, most of which had a poorly child. For me, this was a moment of huge emotion and made me realise how lucky my wife and I are to have two fit and healthy young boys.
A slightly less personal moment was when, after the first cinema room installation at Donna’s Dream House in Blackpool had been completed and was starting to be promoted, I realised that we as an industry could do this again, and again, and make a real difference in doing so. With the support that had been shown, it was an exciting realisation that this could be the first of many installations of this type.
With a trip to the cinema quite often being impossible, one of the most positive pieces of feedback has been the fact that we’re bringing the cinema experience to the children. Many of the families have never watched a film at the cinema, so this is a wonderful thing that we’re able to do as an industry. I have had numerous letters and comments from families who are blown away by the new cinema room.
As for feedback from the industry, Adrian Summers from Invision commented at the opening of the cinema room at Haven House Children’s Hospice in Woodford Green ‘I was honoured to be a part of the install and from a personal point of view, it was probably the most humbling experience I've ever had.’
The two new cinema rooms that will be completed this year are at Naomi House in Winchester and Keech Children’s Hospice in Luton.
Naomi House is a purpose built children’s hospice that provides a homely environment to children and young people with life-limiting conditions. They provide individualised specialist care and much needed respite for the whole family, enabling them to feel refreshed, rested and supported through the good days, difficult days and last days. Naomi House support families from seven counties in southern England – Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Surrey, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight. www.naomihouse.org.uk
Keech Children’s Hospice provides emotional and practical support for adults and children diagnosed with a life-limiting condition. Their aim is to help patients enjoy the highest quality of life, while also providing vital support for their family and friends. They are one of only a handful of UK organisations offering adult and children's services on the same site. The children's service cares for children across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes. www.keech.org.uk
With over 80 different companies supporting Together For Cinema it is hard to select any for a specific mention, particularly as they have all said that they are not worried about any PR highlighting their support. However there have been several companies that have really stepped up and made a big difference by helping in several installations and they (in no particular order) are:
• Have you found it interesting seeing the installation side of these projects?
Yes, absolutely. I have been surprised at the amount of time spent in pre-install work. Be it pre-wiring, the consideration of speaker placement or heat issues determining the location of a projector screen, it has been interesting to listen to the installers plan the install.
All the installers have shown great care and consideration over every step of the install and this has been much appreciated by all of the hospices that we have worked with.
By getting in touch with me and letting me know how they feel they can help. As Together For Cinema has no money, and is basically a scheme that has to work around our normal jobs, we are always on the lookout for assistance. Please call me in my office at 01372 454366 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.