EllenorLions Children's Hospice (ChYps)
EllenorLions is located in Dartford, Kent and is part of the Together For Short Lives group, formerly known as Children’s Hospices UK. The Dartford site is predominantly for children and young people and there is a Gravesend site that is an adult hospice.
HOW INITIAL CONTACT WAS MADE
We have been working with the Together For Short Lives group since 2010, and have now completed nine home cinema installations. To inform their members the Together For Short Lives group agreed to report on these developments in their periodical bulletin that is sent to all of their 50 children’s hospices. One of these was sent early in 2012 and Tracey Hill who is the Head of Support Services at EllenorLions called me on April 12th to see if what we were offering might be an option for EllenorLions. I outlined that it was and soon after Tracey sent me a brief proposal outlining how she felt it would help the children and young adults at EllenorLions. The request was not as comprehensive an install as some of the others we have been involved with but nevertheless I felt we could install something for them that would make a difference to the way films were viewed and enjoyed by the children.
HOW THE INSTALLER / PROJECT MANAGER WAS FOUND:
With a strong network of industry contacts I am fortunate to know many people in our industry who can offer assistance in not only donating product but also their time to help make these installations happen.
In the past I have had several conversations with Mike Beatty of Pulse Marketing and he had always been very supportive of what our industry was doing to help bring the cinema experience into children’s hospices. On more than one occasion he had offered his assistance though we were not able to find a suitable installation for him, as he was keen to take on the whole install donating product as well as managing the whole install. In passing I mentioned the EllenorLions install to him and he was keen to help make it happen, though is still waiting in the wings for his ‘ultimate’ installation! To help with the install Mike worked with his colleague Kapes Patel and also recruited the help of Justin Hyne of Orb Design Consultancy Ltd.
Mike and I met Tracey and her colleagues on Thursday 31st May at EllenorLions and viewed the room that they had earmarked for the home cinema. As with most installations there were one or two limitations as to what we could do but we both felt we could install a system that would give the desired end result and be enjoyed by many children and their families for many years to come.
Taking into consideration that the room was multi-purpose and would have high usage we needed to ensure that the equipment was adaptable and able to be used for films, gaming, conferences, training, computer presentations etc... With this in mind we opted to look at front projection with an automated screen, a suitable AV Receiver and a Home Cinema Speaker package. This equipment would be integrated with the current items that EllenorLions already had in the room.
SOURCING OF PRODUCT:
With Pulse Marketing involved my first question was whether or not they felt they had any suitable equipment that they would be happy to donate and they immediately came forward and donated an excellent Home Cinema Speaker package from Definitive Technology.
Following some of the industry press coverage that Wildwood PR had achieved for us Invision Express had contacted me and offered to the cause an Onkyo AV Receiver which was ideal for this installation. This was sent directly to Pulse to be held until the installation began.
Similarly Wyrestorm had kindly offered their assistance and they came up with all the cables that were required.
So this only left the projector and screen to be sourced and Richer Sounds (with a little help from James Johnson-Flint) donated a Panasonic projector and PSCo donated a Metroplan Widescreen Format Electric Screen. In fact PSCo committed to supply 10 of these screens so I think we’re in good shape for the future!
All in all, with the growing industry awareness of this work, and some wonderful generosity, it was reasonably straightforward to generate the product required.
Tuesday 29th January, 2013
”As with any retrofit Audio-Visual project, the hardest part is getting cables around the room without them being seen and so this was our first challenge on site. Most of the 1st day was taken up with us planning the routes and looking at the different options we had. We were fortunate, to some extent that we had a suspended ceiling to work with and so were able to get most of the cabling hidden in the void.
The position of the projector was dictated by the screen size and so we had a small window to work with, given the position of the central beam. We managed to find a good spot just behind it and cleared 6'6" to the bottom while still getting good height on the screen.
Most of the speakers were easy to fit and it was only the centre one that had to locate either above or below the screen. Once again we were fortunate that the speaker height was pretty much identical to the projection screen casing and so we could position it at high level central to the screen which was our main target.”
Justin Hyne, Orb Design Consultancy Ltd.
INSTALL COMPLETED AND FINAL SIGN OFF:
Wednesday 10th April, 2013
This took place on Wednesday 10th April (after the final sign off!), and Justin Hyne from Orb Design Consultancy was on hand to give a quick tutorial on how the system works. With 5 of the EllenorLions staff present Justin’s help was well received and very much appreciated. Sadly no children were present but the first children’s cinema night is planned for Friday 12th April so we’ll no doubt hear after this how well the cinema is received!
“We are very grateful to Ian Morrish at Integrated Systems Europe and his colleagues in the industry for this fantastic cinema equipment. It has made an enormous difference to the children and young people that we support. Over the last few weeks we have been using the equipment at our respite group Friday Fun Club, which is attended by our young patients and their siblings. The children have really enjoyed watching their favourite cartoons and films on the big screen. It is lovely to see them all smiling and happy. We also aim to use the equipment for staff training and for fundraising presentations, which will hugely benefit the wider organization.”
Tracey Hill, Head of Support Services, EllenorLions
“It was great fun to be involved in the project and although it took 2 long days, it was well worth the effort. The end product looks great and if it just brings one smile to the face of one kid then it's all been worthwhile in my mind.
A lot of charity work across the world is dedicated to giving those less fortunate than ourselves the basic things in life we all take for granted. On some occasions though, it's also good to be able to give those, whose time in this world is shorter than most, some of the more fun things in life that most people don't get a chance to experience. It makes them feel special and that they've had a piece of something different, something to tell others about and happy memories to keep forever.
I'm pleased to have been a part of one such thing and to know that there will be lot's of laughs, smiles, stories and enjoyment for lots of kids with their own little personal cinema experience.”
Justin Hyne, Orb Design Consultancy Ltd.
KIT LIST THAT WAS DONATED:
PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MAKING IT HAPPEN:
Ian Morrish, Sales Manager, Integrated Systems Europe
Mike Beatty and Kapes Patel, Pulse Marketing
Justin Hyne, Orb Design Consultancy Ltd
All products and services were sourced, supplied and installed free of any charge. The approximate total cost of the install, including consultation, installation, products and any other associated costs would normally have been in the region of £6,000 for an end user price. Justin Hyne has also agreed to be available for any servicing and technical queries post install, therefore adding further value to the installation.
Another wonderful result and one that simply would not have taken place without the assistance of Mike Beatty and his team from Pulse Marketing, Justin Hyne of Orb Design and of course the continued generosity of several manufacturers.
As an industry this was our 9th Cinema Room installation into a Children’s Hospice and we will continue this work until we reach our target of 25 rooms by 2020. Of course we can only do this with the continued assistance of manufacturers, distributors and installers so please let me know if you’re interested in helping out – I can assure you it’s very rewarding...