is part of St.Andrew’s Hospice, and is located on the A16, to the south of Grimsby, and only a few minutes from the coast.
They offer free palliative and end of life care to children living in North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire, Hull and the East Riding, both at their hospice and in patient’s own homes. They welcome children from birth to the age of 25, when they transition to the appropriate adult services.
Andy’s offer a number of services to meet the needs of all children and their families in their catchment area, who are affected by a life-limiting or palliative condition throughout their journey and tailor the care provided to each child as an individual, always remembering to inject a healthy dose of fun and laughter.
HOW INITIAL CONTACT WAS MADE:
It was back in August 2021 that Together for Cinema was contacted by the Estates and Facilities Manager at St.Andrews. He had heard about our work via the Together for Short Lives newsletter and also the children’s hospice ‘grapevine’ and wanted to know more.
We set up a Zoom call and I was shown images of the venue and the potential room that was being considered, and I shared some images of some of the cinema rooms that Together for Cinema, with amazing support from the AV industry, have created. There was initial surprise at what we have achieved, and almost a feeling of ‘surely this is too good an offer to be true’. However, after I explained what we do and how it has developed over the years, there was great excitement and I was invited up to Grimsby!
HOW THE INSTALLER / PROJECT MANAGER WAS FOUND:
Having discussed the possibility of helping at St Andrews it was time to see if we could find a willing partner to take on the installation. This is always the key to a successful installation and to make sure I approached the right installer, I contacted Steve Carter at CEDIA to see if he knew of anyone within striking distance of Grimsby. Steve had no hesitation in recommending Ben Cook at Sonic Vison.
I called Ben at Sonic Vision on October 13th and, even though Sonic Vision are a fair distance away from Grimsby, Ben immediately agreed to take a look at the proposed room for installation and a meeting in Grimsby was set for November 9th.
INITIAL MEETING AND SPECIFICATION:
Ben very kindly picked me up from Grimsby station at lunchtime on November 9th, and we drove to St Andrews to meet with Michelle Rollinson, the Chief Executive at St Andrews, and Jacqui Hall, the Director of People and Operations.
We met in the main building and we’re shown around the immediate area and one of the rooms that had originally been considered. This room was a possibility but had some limitations as it had to remain multifunctional (as many of our proposed rooms do) and had some equipment that we would have to work around which would restrict the cinema experience that we were all hoping to create. This is not an uncommon compromise that we have to make but there was another option.
On leaving the main building we crossed over to a storage room that was our second possibility. On opening the double doors Ben and I immediately began to ‘see the vision’ of what could be created. Basically the room was a 5.3m x 5.8m almost square room with double doors on two sides. With it been half full of shelving, paint, an old safe and lots of boxes, it was hard to see exactly what could be done but with Ben’s expert eye we had a cunning plan…
Ben outlined his vision and even with just a brief explanation created a wow factor with the team at St Andrews. There may have been a little disbelief as well…, ‘are these guys really going to do all this for free?!’ Ben outlined a very creatively designed and top end cinema installation and, as I always do, I started to think about how to generate the equipment required to make this happen.
Shortly after our visit, Ben and I got together and drew up the preferred kit list. Ben’s fabulous vision led to a fabulous kit list, but with the amazing support that Together for Cinema has from our industry I was optimistic that we could secure all the items that we needed to create a dedicated and immersive cinema experience that would be used and enjoyed for years to come, and by so many children and young adults.
SOURCING OF PRODUCTS:
Ben’s comprehensive specification for the selected room would create an incredible cinema experience that would really deliver the ‘wow’ factor to all those who used it. This ‘wow’ factor however only comes from a combination of great product and great installation skills. We had a great installer and I was confident that we could secure the products required to complete Ben’s vision.
With so much support for Together for Cinema I was optimistic that we would be able to secure all the items required. However, with a retail value of about £35,000 it was always going to be a big ask. The initial requests went out and to the industry and I’m delighted to say that very quickly we secured most of the items. A few items took a little longer to secure but I was always confident that our wonderful industry would collaborate to help make this room happen.
There were about 18 different brands/companies that donated their time and/or products to make the vision a reality and these are all listed in the section below headed ‘Kit List That Was Donated’. We are hugely grateful to all those that helped make this happen and it shows what can be done when an industry gets together for a common good. Be it a company who has supplied several times or just the once, a company that sponsors Together for Cinema or has only just heard of us we are hugely grateful, as St Andrews are… Thank you…
KIT LIST THAT WAS DONATED:
Wednesday 24th August, 2022.
INSTALL COMPLETED AND FINAL SIGN OFF:
Monday 10th October, 2022.
This took place at 1pm on Wednesday 12th October and was attended by a group of about 20 people. From our industry there was myself, Ben Cook and Ben ‘Stan’ Stansfield from Sonic Vision, Peter Broome from Rako and Chris Pinder and Colton Halls from HDANYWHERE.
From St Andrews Hospice there were various members of the children’s services team and two families with their children in attendance. There was also representation from three local companies who kindly helped prepare the room by supplying carpeting, electrical help and building services.
We were also joined by the very lovely Joanne Clifton of Strictly Come Dancing fame who kindly gave up her time to add some ‘dance floor sparkle’ to the opening event. After a few words from the care team, Joanne kindly took the stage and thanked all those involved for making this amazing cinema room happen.
After a few words from myself and a fabulous demo from Ben we were offered drinks and some cake and were able to chat to the families and children’s staff about how much of a difference the new cinema room will make. Having seen the children’s reaction during the opening scene of the latest Lion King film I have no doubt that the room will used and enjoyed on a regular basis.
During tea and cakes I was lucky enough to talk to one of the Dads of a young girl who is wheelchair bound and blind. He made it very clear to me how much this new cinema facility, with it’s 9.2 audio system, means to his daughter. He said that the change in her behaviour, based on the audio stimulation alone, is instant and hugely impactful for her and all around her.
This was a lovely event and as I’ve mentioned in the past, one of Together for Cinema’s special days of the year…
”Once Ian had explained the work that Together for cinema do, it was a no brainer for us to get involved with this installation. Our day to day business is to create breathtaking experiences and what better way to use those skills? This was an opportunity to create something special for children that have had their opportunities minimised, as such our goal was to create a space that provides amazement, enables some valuable family time and hopefully helps to make some smiles as well as memories.
On our initial visit we found an old paint store, an almost square 5.5m x 5.5m area with two sets of double doors, a lot of hard surfaces and a very ugly ceiling! Our design needed to ensure accessibility and comfort, whilst delivering a hefty dose of cinematic impact in a fun and engaging space.
To begin with, we needed to address some issues with the room. One doorway would need to be blocked up to allow the room to be oriented correctly to enable easy access. We decided to raise the floor at the rear, thus maximising the size of the screen and providing two rows of seating with clear line of sight. Additionally we decided to drop the ceiling at the rear to accommodate lighting control equipment, the star ceiling projector, and allow some height speakers to be included. At the front of the room we included a timber frame to accommodate the 4x3m star ceiling, adding a stunning effect and a real sense of height, whilst also concealing some of the rooms' less favourable features. The colour scheme was put together to keep the space vibrant whilst also reflecting the St Andrews branding.
One of the key components of the room are the acoustic panels. These both aid in keeping the audio controlled and defined, whilst working in conjunction with the custom printed speaker grills to create a children's movie theme. The artwork is complemented by 4 circuits of DMX colour change lighting, coupled with the DMX controlled star ceiling, to create some interesting effects which make the space an entertaining place to be, even when the film has finished!
From initial concept to final touches, we loved working on this project. It was amazing to see the industry pull together to provide such a brilliant space and we’re really pleased with the results. It’s been great to see it put to good use and we hope it brings a lot of happiness to a lot of people. Truly a privilege to be part of…”
Benjamin Cook, Co-Founder, Sonic Vision LTD
”We were so excited when we first heard about the cinemas being developed in Children’s Hospices, and our excitement only grew when we first met Ian, from Together for Cinema and Ben, from Sonic Vision. The image that they brought alive through their initial thoughts and ideas sounded too good to be true. We really couldn’t imagine the Estates Team workshop/storage room looking like a cinema, and we were totally blown away when we saw it for the first time. Wow, wow, wow!!
We couldn’t have had any better support from Ian and Ben, who have been totally dedicated to achieve their vision, keeping us on track and supporting with the work we needed to do to have the room ready for it’s installation.
We are so very grateful to everyone for the generous donations of technology, time and expertise that came together to create an amazing cinema experience. For children and young people living with a life limiting illness and their families, taking a trip to the cinema can be challenging and not always an enjoyable experience. Having the cinema here at the hospice, provides opportunities for families to enjoy special times together, watching their favorite film, in the comfort of their own private space. The special memories that will be created are magical and will bring comfort to families at sad times.
A huge thank you to Ian, Ben and everyone involved. We will enjoy many wonderful moments in our amazing cinema.”
Michelle Rollinson, Chief Executive, St Andrews Hospice.
”Gosh! I’m blown away!! What a room…, it really is incredible and delivers an amazing audio and visual experience for those lucky enough to enjoy it. This is so important for the children and their families and offers them a really great opportunity to put their challenges to one side for a moment and simply enjoy a good movie together. Special times together, what a gift…., every children’s hospice should have one…!
Hearing more about Together for Cinema was inspiring and I was delighted to hear that so many companies in the AV industry are involved as sponsors, product donors, installers etc… Keep up the amazing work and I will follow your progress with interest!”
Joanne Clifton was a World Champion professional dancer and starred on Strictly Come Dancing. She now stars on Strictly Take Two and hosts’ Choreography Corner’.
PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MAKING IT HAPPEN:
THANK YOU…, you have helped make a real difference at St Andrews, and in turn, have made a real difference to so many people’s lives.
With any ‘luxury’ extra such as a cinema room, there is generally very little, if any, budget available from the hospice. Initially this was the case but once St Andrews heard and appreciated the extent of what we were proposing they wanted to do what they could from their end to help make the end result as amazing as possible. …and this they certainly did! Some building work, some decoration, some refurb etc…, and the room was prepped brilliantly for Ben and his team at Sonic Vision to work their magic.
This installation is without doubt one of Together for Cinema’s most comprehensive and immersive results. Had it been a paid for installation the total cost, including consultation, design, installation and all the products would have been in the region of £45,000.
This was Together for Cinema’s 36th good cause cinema room installation and took the Together for Cinema good cause community delivery to very nearly £900,000 worth of installations, had they all been paid for. It’s estimated that we will hit £1,000,000 worth of cinema room installations by the Summer of 2023.
I have to again mention the incredible commitment that Ben Cook and Ben ‘Stan’ Stansfield from Sonic Vision, and their installation team, have put in to make this happen. With no financial return they have all simply got on with the job and have delivered something incredibly special. It’s a huge time commitment but I suspect they will all have enjoyed the experience and will have found the journey an emotional one.
We are an industry united to make a difference and none of what Together for Cinema has achieved would have been possible without the comprehensive support of so many. Long may it last!!
“Together for Cinema – together for better”