Helen House Children's Hospice
c/o Helen and Douglas House
14A Magdalen Road
LOCATION AND INTRODUCTION:
Helen & Douglas House is an independent charity running two hospice houses located on the outskirts of Oxford. Helen House was the world’s first children’s hospice opening in 1982 and Douglas House opened in 2004 specifically for young adults aged 16-35. The charity is a member of Together for Short Lives, formerly Children’s Hospices UK. Together For Short Lives is the leading UK charity for all children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions and all those who support, love and care for them. They support families, professionals and services, including 52 children’s hospices in the UK, and their work helps to ensure that children can get the best possible care, wherever and whenever they need it.
Helen & Douglas House has the time and expertise to care for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions and support their families. The two hospice houses offer specialist symptom and pain management, medically-supported short breaks and end-of-life care, as well as counselling and practical support for the whole family.
HOW INITIAL CONTACT WAS MADE:
Helen House had received communication via the Together For Short Lives newsletter so there may have been some awareness of the Together For Cinema campaign, but it was actually in May of 2013 that the daughter of one of my parent’s friends, Cathy Pearl, contacted me as she is a volunteer at Helen House in Oxford. As we all know parents like to chat about their children and on this occasion I was delighted that they did… After thirty years Helen House was undergoing some comprehensive and richly deserved refurbishment and were soon ready to look at the opportunity we were offering them. It wasn’t until February of 2014 that we had further contact and it was at this point that I made contact with Sarah Westmoreland and Mandy Hamilton from Helen & Douglas House. Very quickly a meeting was set April 1st, 2014 for the installer and I to view the location and determine which of the refurbished areas might be most appropriate for the cinema installation.
HOW THE INSTALLER / PROJECT MANAGER WAS FOUND:
I have to admit that this was the easiest of all the installations… Very simply, Iain Brown, of Kensington Home Technology, had recently completed one cinema room at Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice in Arundel, and had asked me to keep an eye out for another room that he could get involved with. I mentioned Helen House to him and bearing in mind the history and also the accessible location, he had no doubts and immediately agreed to take on his second installation as part of the Together For Cinema campaign. My personal thanks go out to Iain as he is the first installer to have taken on a second installation.
INITIAL MEETING AND SPECIFICATION:
As already mentioned we arranged a meeting at Helen House on Tuesday April 1st, 2014. Being located in ‘urban’ Oxford and with lots of builders etc…, on site, we both faced a problem not encountered before…, parking! Most of the children’s hospices visited are in rural locations with ample parking so this was an unexpected challenge.
Having met Sarah, Mandy and other colleagues at Helen House, it was a swift process to select the most appropriate room for the cinema, the only slight challenge being the shape of the room giving limited width. However, Iain assured me this would not be a problem. With this in mind Iain and I discussed product solutions and drew up a preferred kit list based on Iain’s preferred suppliers, and who I felt were ‘waiting in the wings’ to help…
SOURCING OF PRODUCT:
As with any of these cinema installations a fairly ambitious kit list was created for the install at Helen House, and both Iain and I were very confident that we could gather these products pretty swiftly. As it turned out this was certainly the case and I think this is testimony now to the exposure and awareness of the Together For Cinema work and also to the respect that Iain at Kensington Home Technology has within the industry as an excellent installer.
Brands such as Crestron, Dataflow, Epson, Gefen (via Digibox), Humax, Kaleidescape, Middle Atlantic (via RGB), Monitor Audio, Velodyne (via Redline Distribution) and Yamaha all generously stepped up and contributed, helping transform the room into a wonderful cinema.
An ambitious kit list indeed, but with the right contacts, and a lot of generosity and goodwill, we were able to secure all the products required fairly swiftly. A big thank you to all that have helped to create a very special cinema room that will be used and enjoyed by the kids and their families for many years to come...
Wednesday 13th August, 2014
INSTALLER INSTALL COMMENTS:
“We visited the site whilst the new construction was being undertaken and established a preferred kit list based on the layout and construction of the room. The room has multiple uses so we needed to design a system that provided the performance we needed but provided the low impact and usability that the client required.
As on our previous project, our suppliers were very generous and we managed to secure all the kit from our kit list very quickly.
Installation was relatively straightforward as we had carried out a detailed pre-install survey and identified all potential issues prior to commencing works.
The installation was completed in a couple of days and a final day was needed to finish the programming and commission the system. The whole process was aided by the onsite contractor who installed the platform for the projector mount.”
Iain Brown, Kensington Home Technology
INSTALL COMPLETED AND FINAL SIGN OFF:
Friday 14th November, 2014.
CUSTOMER POST INSTALL COMMENTS:
“In 2013 Helen & Douglas House undertook to upgrade and refurbish our children’s hospice, Helen House. In particular we wanted to pay attention to how technology could improve the experience of the children who visit the hospice, and enable their independence, learning and enjoyment of the environment. The installation of a cinema room, fitted perfectly with the plans and created a real buzz amongst staff and patients as they waited for the new building to be completed.
There is no one better than the Care Team and to explain the benefits of the room, so we asked them, here is what was said:-
The boys just love it… the way it is set up allows them to flick between games and films which they can do independently. (no adults required!). They love the large size of the room and the very large screen. With the large screen several of the children can see the screen at the same time unlike trying to watch a TV. The boys are in control of their choices (adult control does still exist but in the background).
…and the children:-
We love the way that films are stored in the system which means that they are always available – not lost, scratched or bitten! But best of all is the sound can be turned up really LOUD and nobody tells us off and it makes our skin tingle and belly wobble.”
Sarah Westmorland, Director of People Resourcing and Operations, Helen & Douglas House
INSTALLER POST INSTALL COMMENTS:
“We have already carried out a ‘Together for Cinema’ project and found the whole experience extremely uplifting and gratifying. At the time I mentioned to Ian Morrish that we would be keen to do another project if an opportunity arose in a geographically suitable location – we need to offer ongoing support on these projects so we need to be realistic about the location of any project that we undertake. When Ian contacted me early in 2014 about Helen & Douglas house we were more than happy to get involved.
Once again our suppliers were more than happy to get involved and sourcing of our preferred kit list was achieved very quickly.
The installation was relatively straightforward and the final solution has achieved the requirements of the clients brief.
Once again the whole experience has been very positive and I hope that the children get to enjoy the room for many years to come. We are pleased to say that we have already signed up for our 2015 project.”
Iain Brown, Kensington Home Technology
KIT LIST THAT WAS DONATED:
Other accessories were donated directly by Kensington Home Technology.
PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MAKING IT HAPPEN:
THANK YOU to you all!! …you have all helped create a little bit of magic at Helen House.
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 £16,000 for an end user price.
Kensington Home Technology have also committed to be available for any servicing and technical queries post install.
For Together For Cinema this installation is our 13th completed cinema room in a children’s hospice, and we are now over half way to our initial target of 25 rooms completed by 2020, this being 50% of the children’s hospices in the Together For Short Lives group. We already have two more lined up for 2015, Keech Children’s Hospice in Luton and Naomi House Children’s Hospice in Winchester, and these will both be complete by the end of 2015.
The cinema room at Helen House Children’s Hospice is another fantastic result, with more great support from the industry to help make it happen. Thanks must go to all involved and particularly Iain Brown of Kensington Home Technology who has again, for his second project, given a huge amount of time up to complete the cinema. Iain’s efforts, and the generosity of all concerned will make a difference to all those that use the room for many years to come. Very simply, the cinema room at Helen House is another installation our industry can be very proud of.