LOCATION AND INTRODUCTION:
Demelza Hospice Care For Children has been providing care since 1988. It has three Children’s Hospice locations in the South-East. One in Eltham in London, one in St Leonards On Sea in East Sussex and one in Sittingbourne in Kent. It was at the Sittingbourne location that we were asked to help refurbish their cinema room and bring it back to life.
Demelza Hospice Care For Children carries the name of Demelza Phillips, daughter of Derek and Jennifer Phillips, who died tragically from a brain tumour at the age of 24. Demelza had worked at Acorns Children’s Hospice in Birmingham and was inspired by their work. This inspiration was passed on to her parents who had the vision to establish a children’s hospice in the South-East of England.
Demelza pride themselves in taking the time to get to know their families when they support them, enabling them to provide the care and support that meets specific needs. They understand that one size doesn’t fit all and hence their services are personalised to meet the needs of the baby’s, children, young people and families they support.
They believe that every child and young person who has a serious or terminal condition should receive the care and attention they need to live the most fulfilling life they can, and that they have the opportunity to build memories, for however long they might have.
HOW INITIAL CONTACT WAS MADE:
As this was a location that Together For Cinema had already installed into we already had a contact person at the hospice.
It was in 2014 that we installed the original cinema room and this has clearly served them well over the years. 8 years later, and with a little wear and tear and some technology developments, it was time for an update and a refurbishment.
It was in April 2022 that I was contacted by Karen Russell, the Care Coordinator at Demelza in Sittingbourne, outlining that they were having some issues with the cinema room. This seemed to be a real blow to them as it was clear that the cinema room has been, and still was, a hugely popular room for the children and their families. Of course we agreed to try to help but needed to find a good installer to take a look at what was needed and then to project manAge the update.
HOW THE INSTALLER / PROJECT MANAGER WAS FOUND:
Demelza had a company that they used for their electrics and AV support, and they had already quoted on taking a look at the cinema room. I suggested that we might be able to get this done for them free of any charge including any replacement products and labour. I explained how Together For Cinema had developed over the years and they were delighted that I felt we could do this for them.
As with any installation it’s hugely important to find the right installer, and one that is accessible to the venue that you’re working at. With this in mind I started looking into good local installers and found Modus Vivendi, based in Maidstone, only a few miles away from Sittingbourne. The question was…, would they be able to help?
I contacted Chris Bethell and Luke Emmott at Modus Vivendi and they were on board to help immediately. They had heard about Together For Cinema and were (like many others I hope!) ready, willing and able to help. We had our installer, and a good one!
INITIAL MEETING AND SPECIFICATION:
With this being a refurbishment there was no real need for me to attend the initial site visit so Chris and Luke set up an initial meeting on Wednesday April 20th. They met with Karen Russell, the Care Coordinator at Demelza and gave the cinema room a thorough ‘going over’ basically they identified what needed to be updated and/or replaced!
As it turned out there were only a few items that needed replacing but they were all pretty key to the room’s operation. The control solution in place was ‘functional’, but was very dated and not particularly easy to use so we proposed replacing it with Control4. We were delighted when they were able to donate the relevant kit to make this happen.
A new projector was also required, along with some new cables and a 4-way HDMI Switch to get the room back up to speed, and being enjoyed again.
Another key element to allowing the space to be used more (and not just for movies) was to introduce an Apple TV to allow access to streamed content such as; Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.
SOURCING OF PRODUCTS:
With the comprehensive industry backing that Together For Cinema now has I was optimistic that we should be able to secure the equipment required to bring the Demelza cinema room back to life. Four emails later and a quick visit to Amazon and we had everything we needed!
A big thank you from us all, but particularly the children and families at Demelza, to Blustream, Control4 (SnapOne), Epson and HDANYWHERE. I’d also like to thank Amazon for allowing me to purchase an Apple TV box!
A Small Appeal: If anyone knows someone at Apple who could get these boxes FOC please do let me know! We only need 7 or 8 a year but they’re not cheap!
Yet again our industry steps up to help and this refurbishment shows that we have a commitment to all our install venues to service and maintain each and every installation we are responsible for.
Wednesday 17th August, 2022.
INSTALL COMPLETED AND FINAL SIGN OFF:
Thursday 18th August, 2022.
KIT LIST THAT WAS DONATED FOR THE REFURBISHMENT:
“When Ian Morrish approached us to help at Demelza Children’s Hospice it was an easy decision for us to offer our services. We had heard great things about the good work of Together For Cinema and had intended to contact Ian to ask if we could help in any way. His call was timely, much appreciated and we were delighted that we could help in some way, and of course at a venue local to us.
Visiting Demelza was eye opening and to be honest quite emotional. To see the incredible work of all the staff at Demelza’s and the difference that they make to the children’s and their families lives is humbling and we were driven to help in any way that we could.
Bringing the cinema room back to life at Demelza Children’s Hospice was very much our pleasure and we hope to get involved with another Together For Cinema project in the future. Keep up the good work Ian and thank you for asking us to get involved!”
Luke Emmott, Managing Director, Modus Vivendi.
“For families living with a child with complex needs, a trip to the local cinema can often be almost impossible to manage – having the cinema room at Demelza Hospice in Sittingbourne is a huge bonus. The recent refurbishment has made a huge difference to an area that was already very popular with families.
Caitlin has been coming to Demelza since she was a toddler and is now 17. She said: One of my favourite rooms at Demelza is the cinema room: it’s easy to access and you can have a lot of fun and laughs when you’re there.
Thanks to Together for Cinema, MV Installations and all that donated equipment, the upgraded projector system, 4K picture quality, ambient lighting, streaming service and new gaming functionality will improve the family experience to a whole new level.
Paul, one of the health care assistants at the hospice said: “Having the gaming functionality is fantastic as we now no longer need to hold gaming sessions in the main lounge. We have a film and gaming day booked in later in October and we are looking forward to making the most of the upgraded equipment.”
Kate Barber, PR and Communications Manager
Due to various reasons our official opening gathering didn’t happen until Friday April 21st, but it was a ‘good day’ nevertheless. As I’ve always said, our official opening days are very special and always leave me with a warm glow in my heart.
I was delighted that Luke Emmott and Georgia Smith from Modus Vivendi were able to join me on the day. We were also joined by staff at Demelza and our special guest…, Liam, one of the children cared for at Demelza, who also brought his Mum and Nana.
The standard tea and biscuits were served and we saw and heard how the refurbished room, now up and running again, continues to make a difference. It’s used pretty much every day and Liam tells us he uses it every time he goes to Demelza. Sometimes for movies, but like most 13 year olds he is a gamer and he was telling us of the games he plays and who he plays with. One particular boy he plays with is called Malachi. Malachi is blind and Liam helps him play the games as best he can. Amazing…
A few photos and an interview or two later and we left Demelza knowing that the industry efforts to get this room back up and running will be appreciated for many years to come.
PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MAKING IT HAPPEN:
THANK YOU…, you have helped bring the cinema room back to life at Demelza, and in turn, have made a real difference to so many people’s lives.
As with any children’s hospice, budgets are tight and patient care must always take priority, hence there is little available for ‘luxuries’ such as a cinema room, no matter how much they might be appreciated. With this in mind, and with the main installation having taken place in 2014, at some point there was going to need to be some updating.
As Together For Cinema had kept in touch with the care team at Demelza it was easy for them to reach out and ask for our help to get the room back up and running. We were fortunate to secure all the services and products required at no cost - apart of course for the Apple TV unit (again…, anyone know someone at Apple who might be able to help!!??)
Had this refurbishment been paid for we suspect the total cost, including consultation, design, installation and all the products would have been in the region of £10,000.
This is our first comprehensive refurbishment of one of the Together For Cinema installations and we are sure it will not be the last. We are committed to supporting all of the venues that we install into even if the original installer, as in this case, was not contactable. With this in mind, and on behalf of Demelza and all involved with Together For Cinema, I thank Luke and Chris at Modus Vivendi for being so willing to take on this refurbishment.
“Together For Cinema – together for better”