‘FROM LITTLE ACORNS A CINEMA ROOM WILL GROW’
LOCATION AND INTRODUCTION:
A parent never imagines their child will be diagnosed with a life limiting or life threatening condition. But when the unimaginable happens, Acorns steps in, helping families cope at every stage of their child’s life and beyond, wherever and whenever they need it. The need for children’s hospice care never stops which is why we are here to provide specialist palliative care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
At Acorns their dedicated team offers psychological, emotional and practical support. Their team of health and social care professionals provide a range of services, including bereavement support and advocacy, as well as a number of dedicated support groups, helping to reduce the isolation some families can face.
Making every day count:
At Acorns they understand that family time is precious when a child’s life is limited, and they support families in any way they can to create lasting memories.
Their tailored care includes complex medical care, emergency and end of life care, short breaks and emotional and practical support. Every family is different, which is why their holistic package of care is tailored to meet the individual needs of each child and family, including cultural, religious and spiritual needs.
Acorns in the Black Country is located in Walsall, and is one of three children’s hospices in their group. The others being Acorns in Birmingham and Acorns for the Three Counties, located in Worcester.
HOW INITIAL CONTACT WAS MADE:
It was way back in June 2011 when we were first contacted by the Head of Care at Acorns in the Black Country and to cut a long story short, and with the help of Gary Mills and his team from Decorum Technology, we opened a cinema space for them in January 2012. This was only our fourth cinema room installation.
Move forward ten years to April 2022 and we were contacted again as Acorns were having some major refurbishments and hence the ten year old cinema needed to be dismantled and stored until we could reinstall it. With Together For Cinema now being a CIC and with comprehensive industry support we were able to upgrade their old cinema equipment and in fact only ended up reusing the DVD player!
It's good to find new deserving venues to help with our offering, but it’s also important to remember those that we have already installed into. After 11 years it was good to upgrade the Acorns cinema room and I suspect we will be looking at others again in the near future. The servicing and maintenance of our installations is an essential part of the Together For Cinema offering.
HOW THE INSTALLER / PROJECT MANAGER WAS FOUND:
Time ticked on and with the refurbishment completed at the end of 2022 we could look at a defined schedule for installation. First things first, and most importantly, we had to find the right local installer who could help. Coincidentally Tony Edwards and Richard Heeley from Jooced had recently been in touch with me to see if they could help with an installation and this seemed the perfect opportunity to get them involved.
A quick phone call later and they ‘were in’! No hesitation and an absolute keenness to get involved and help make a difference. This was in December 2022. It wasn’t until March 2023 that we actually had our first group site meeting.
INITIAL MEETING AND SPECIFICATION:
Wednesday March 22nd, 2023, and Richard Heeley and I met with Neil Patel from Acorns to discuss what could be done. As with most of the Together For Cinema installations it was a space that presented some challenges, but Richard came up with some wonderful proposals. Sadly many of these were not able to be progressed as the area itself was the end of larger room with pull across screening, and hence had to maintain the look and feel of the main room. The wonderful Cinema graphics had to go, the darkened walls had to go, as well as some other proposals. Disappointing but totally understandable as it was decided that the room needed to maintain it’s identity.
Ultimately, with any of our installations, we have to work around the limitations that are presented to us. Be it care needs or the day to day multi-functionality of the room, we need to integrate the cinema experience around these priorities. It often means that an initial installer’s designs need to be compromised, and this was the case at Acorns.
However, Richard was able to compromise his design to still give Acorns the cinema room experience. Along with some strategically placed lighting, and of course the immersive Audio and Visual experience, the design was a greed and a kit list was created.
SOURCING OF PRODUCTS:
With a very ambitious kit list compromised slightly to just an ambitious kit list I set about going out to our generous industry contacts to make this happen. Richard Heeley, working with Ace Cintracts, kindly took on the repurposing of the original blinds and we were able to reuse the NAD DVD player, as well as some ex trade show speakers from Crestron. We also had two Playstation Consoles donated which the children were delighted about! I’m delighted to say that I was able to offload some of the 1,200 DVD’s that I have in my attic!
The balance of the equipment we needed to source directly and back to some of the old favourites we went…, Control4 (Snap One), Denon (Masimo Consumer Audio), HDANYWHERE, Monitor Audio, Peerless and Starscape all stepped up and we are of course hugely grateful for their continued and much needed, and much appreciated support.
We always try to vary who we approach for support and it was good to be able to take up the offer of assistance from the likes of Aquavision, Gude Systems and Hisense. Hisense have been keen to get involved for a little while and we were delighted to work with them on this installation. Their Short Throw PX1-PRO projector was perfect for this installation.
KIT LIST THAT WAS DONATED:
• Ace Contracts (Blinds): Assistance to motorise the original blinds.
• Aquavision (Projection Screen): Remote control 120” projection screen.
• Crestron (Speakers): 4 x Excite IC6-W-T ceiling speakers.
• Denon / Masimo Consumer Audio (AV Receiver): Denon AVRX1700 - 7.2.
• HDANYWHERE (HDMI Cables): 1 x 10m HDMI Fibre cable.
• HiSense (Projector): Hisense Short Throw PX1-PRO projector.
• Monitor Audio (Speakers): 1 x SB4, 1 x IWS10, 1 x IWB10 and 1 x IWA 250.
• NAD (DVD Player): T535, repurposed from the original 2012 installation.
• Jooced (Various): Installation consumables, as well as project management, design and installation time.
• Gude Systems via One AV (Power Distribution): 1 x 8031 PDU.
• Peerless (Projector Bracket): Compatible bracket for Hisense Short Throw PX1-PRO projector.
• Playstation (Gaming Consoles): 2 x PS4’s generously donated Michael Adamson of North Tech and Joe Bennett of Monitor Audio.
• Snap One (Lighting Control): Vibrant Lighting Range - 10m led tape, 1 x DCM5 control and a suitable 200 watt power supply.
• Snap One (Control): 1 x EA-1 controller, and 1 x SR-260 remote control.
• Starscape (Lighting): 2 x 1200mm Circular Infinity Ceiling panels.
• Together For Cinema: 2 x Boxes of DVD’s.
Monday 24th July, 2023.
INSTALL COMPLETED AND FINAL SIGN OFF:
Friday 22nd September, 2023.
At midday on Monday 9th October I was picked up from Bescot Stadium, near Walsall, by Brad, one of the Jooced installation team. He kindly took me to Acorns where we met with Joe Wilks from OneAV, Michael Johnson from Monitor Audio and Brad’s colleague Richard Heeley one of the directors from Jooced, and our main contact for this installation.
We also met with several members of the Acorns care team and also the very lovely Aimie and her gorgeous daughter Charlee. This was Aimie’s first proper visit to Acorns and she was happy to help with an interview, though only if we played a Dinosaur movie for Charlee – which of course we agreed to do! Hearing how this new facility will be used and appreciated made our hearts sing, and should drive us all on to keep delivering positive change via Together For Cinema.
Richard Heeley kindly gave the care team a very quick training session on how the equipment works and when I say quick, it really was! Much to the relief of the care team it really is a simple as On and Off, and this is exactly how Richard wanted to leave it. Job done and that’s exactly what we did…, we left Acorns in the knowledge that this new facility was in fact a perfect solution for the room, and a prefect solution for how it will be used, in so many positive ways.
"When we were approached by Together for Cinema for the Acorns children’s hospice installation in Walsall we couldn’t say no. We work in some incredible properties as our main job and the thought of being able to give back to such a worthy cause, especially as we are both fathers, just felt right.
The project had to be scaled back due to other factors within the building but we really hope the children get enjoyment and happiness from the cinema we have built. None of this would have been possible without the amazing generosity and support of the industry, and Ian."
Richard Heeley, Director, Jooced
”Having worked within Acorns for a relatively short time, I am overwhelmed by the both the generosity and professionalism of both Jooced and TFC. TFC has been incredible at sourcing and delivering an array of technological items to fully support this installation. Jooced is at the forefront of their industry creating a bespoke installation with expertise, knowledge and experience.
Together this team has delivered an incredible cinema experience for our children by bringing this to our Hospice. This has created an inclusive and accessible culture bringing us all together. On behalf of us all at Acorns…, THANK YOU!”
Neil Patel, Facilities Manager, Acorns Children’s Hospice
PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MAKING IT HAPPEN:•
• Ian Morrish (Founder of Together for Cinema)
• Richard Heeley (Director, Jooced)
• Tony Edwards (Director, Jooced)
• Brad Evans (Installation Manager, Jooced)
• All the manufacturers, distributors and other suppliers that supplied the necessary product, all of whom have already been mentioned in the Kit List above.
• The Together for Cinema Directors and Partners, without who these installations would not be possible.
THANK YOU…, you have helped make a real difference at Acorns, and in turn, have made a real difference to so many people’s lives.
Having had a cinema room installed by us in 2012, Acorns were unsure if we would be able to help again following their refurbishment. However, and with our commitment to maintain and service once installed, we were of course happy to help. There was of course no budget set aside for the new cinema room so it was effectively a new installation.
Fortunately we were able to reuse one item from the previous installation, a DVD Player, so saved about £200! Beyond this all other items needed to be sourced. At the end of the day, if Acorns had paid an AV company to reinstall and upgrade, as we did, it would have cost them about £22,000.
The end result is amazing, but it’s a cinema room facility that would never normally have been discussed as a budget possibility. With consultation, design, installation and all the products required the project simply would not have happened. Fortunately, and thanks to our industry being united to make a difference the children and families at Acorns can now enjoy an upgraded cinema experience.
This was Together for Cinema’s 40th good cause cinema room installation and helped take the Together for Cinema good cause community delivery to over £1,000,000 worth of installations, had they all been paid for.
I have to again mention the incredible commitment from Richard Heeley and Tony Edwards at Jooced. Their commitment to the installation was comprehensive and considerate. Sadly we’re unable to offer any financial return but I hope the ‘feel good’ factor of being involved in such a project is worth more than any payment.
Another special memory making room is now complete and it’s great what an industry united can achieve…
For further details please contact Ian Morrish at:-
Work: 01372 454366 ♦ Mobile: 07768 398007 ♦ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Report Created by Ian Morrish. All quotes to be from Ian Morrish, unless otherwise stated.