LOCATION AND INTRODUCTION:
The disabled children and young people who access We Are Beams will typically have one or more learning difficulties, complex health needs, physical or sensory impairment, challenging behaviour, Autism or severe ADHD.
The We Are Beams Mission
Established as a charity in 1996 the mission is to provide comprehensive support services to children and young people with any form of physical, learning or sensory impairment living in Dartford, Gravesham, Sevenoaks and the surrounding areas. They aim to support the whole family through a range of services that directly benefit and assist those dealing with the challenges of raising a disabled child.
The We Are Beams Vision
Is to be the leading provider of support for disabled children and young people in Kent. Using their expertise, We Are Beams help them to have more independence and control of their futures. The values that underpin the work of Beams are:
• Service Excellence
• People focused
• Responsive to needs
• Promoting an inclusive agenda
• Beneficiary involvement in the development of services
• Regular and systematic monitoring and evaluation
• Increasing social awareness of disability
• Collaborative working with professionals and charities
HOW INITIAL CONTACT WAS MADE:
For many years now Peter Alloway of Invision UK has been coaching football to disabled children. He has over 60 in his group and they are of various abilities, but they are all keen and committed, as Peter is. Some of these children go to We Are Beams and Peter asked me in 2022 if I’d be interested to take a look at the We Are Beams facility in Hextable to see if we could help.
With only 54 children’s hospices in the UK it’s important for Together For cinema to find other suitable venues for our industry to work with so I was delighted to visit. A meeting was set for 2pm on Monday 20th Feb 2023, and Peter kindly agreed to join me.
As with any venue like this that works with children you immediately want to help. Having then seen the venue and met with Katrina Adams and Paul Kennedy, the Head and Deputy Head of We Are Beams, we were committed to help.
The impact of understanding the difference that We Are Beams makes on a day to day basis, coupled by the unwavering commitment of the staff, is very powerful, and helps drive us forward to the next install and the next…
HOW THE INSTALLER / PROJECT MANAGER WAS FOUND:
In December of 2022 Kent based installer Ideaworks had committed to become Platinum Level Charitable Partners of Together For Cinema for 2023. We are of course hugely grateful for this support and we were also delighted that Kevin Andrews was keen to take on a Together For Cinema installation if he could. With We Are Beams being based in Kent and coming on stream about the same time it almost seemed like fate that the match was made.
Kevin Andrews agreed to manage the installation at the beginning of March and on March 17th he asked me to present to his team at their staff event in London. I of course agreed but had no idea how many would be in attendance. To be honest I was expecting a small boardroom type presentation, but a medium sized theatre with about 140 members of staff quickly made me realise the size of the Ideaworks business and how fortunate we were to have them taking this installation on.
Shortly after this event a call out to the staff was made to see who would like to be involved, and help ‘make the magic happen’. Needless to say that very quickly a team was appointed and they were ready for their first visit to We Are Beams.
INITIAL MEETING AND SPECIFICATION:
Having already visited the venue in February it was important for the installation team from Ideaworks to visit. With diaries being ‘challenging’ to say the least, they set up a site visit on April 6th, and immediately came up with a cunning plan. We’d already had the offer of a 98” screen from Philips Professional Displays so were basing the install and working the installation around this.
The decision was made to create a tailored media wall incorporating lighting and panelling to create a striking AV facility. Apart from the cinema room We Are Beams could use the room for so many other things including gaming, sporting events, training, fundraising and a host of other uses. It really would be a room that would make an incredible difference to the facility and of course to those that attend day to day.
SOURCING OF PRODUCTS:
With the screen already secured we needed to consider what was needed to work with the screen and to make the media wall as striking and as effective as possible.
With Ideaworks on board, we knew a great solution would be created. Following a few requests from myself to the likes of Lutron, Officina Acustica and Sonos it was the installation team at Ideaworks that finalised and gathered all of the equipment. They kindly supplied several items themselves including the Philips Hue system, some cables and other items.
As it happens, having secured the screen first, we had change this at the last moment to enable the content solution to be easily fed. It was a shame as the Philips screen was excellent, but the Sony screen that Ideaworks very kindly supplied themselves was equally suitable and ensured a great end result.
KIT LIST THAT WAS DONATED:
• Ideaworks (Lighting): Philips Hue Lighting system.
• Ideaworks (Screen): Sony 100”.
• Ideaworks (Various): Installation consumables, project management, design and installation time.
• Lutron (Blinds): 3 x tailor made remote control automated blinds.
• MC2 (Cabinetry): Tailor made cabinetry to house and protect the equipment and help create the ‘Media Wall’ effect.
• Officina Acustica (Acoustic Panelling): 6 x acoustic panels as required.
• Philips Public Display Systems (Screen): A 98” flat screen.
• Sonos (Speakers): Premium Immersive Set with Arc, including surface speakers, sub and sound bar.
• Together For Cinema: 2 x Boxes of DVD’s.
Friday 29th September, 2023.
INSTALL COMPLETED AND FINAL SIGN OFF:
Friday 29th September, 2023.
This took place at 2pm on Wednesday 25th October and was attended by Danny and Rich from Ideaworks, as well as Pater Alloway from Invision, Steve Carter from CEDIA and Ian Kitchener from Essential Install. Of course there were several of the staff from We Are Beams and also some of the children who use the faciity.
A short demo, some interviews and a few speeches helped make it a memorable occasion. It was particularly nice to hear from both Katrina Adams and Paul Kennedy, the senior management at We Are Beams, about the impact that the room has already made and will continue to make. Along with this we heard from a couple of the children, whose opinion matters the most, and they were so thrilled to be able to have an in house cinema experience gifted to them, and in their safe place. Their words really did have an impact on us all…
These openings are Together For Cinema’s ‘great days’ and this lived up to all expectations. It was topped off with a cup of tea and quite possibly the tastiest Lemon cake that I have ever tasted – thank you We Are Beams!
”Why did Ideaworks get involved?
Firstly. We were immediately drawn to “We Are Beams” as an opportunity because they are doing an amazing job bringing joy and support to families who face considerable challenges. There was an obvious pride that the team there take in the job they do. While undoubtedly every day presents its own challenges, so does it offer reward in the immediate impact their work has on the children. Listening to them talk in such positive terms was inspiring.
I think most people see the value in doing charitable works and giving support to charities. Like many companies we do a number of things to raise money for charity. Increasingly, we have found that raising donations becomes harder as the economy bites and charities have to work ever harder to raise funds.
Secondly. Being able to bring together our commercial links to equipment suppliers and all of our inhouse skills, massively multiplies the value of what we can do over a straight cash donation. It also enables far more people with the company the opportunity to “donate” time and effort. To work together.
Thirdly. I think it’s fair to say that our average Client doesn’t face the kind of difficulties that many of the children and parents, who rely on We are Beams, are facing. Often, we may never know or meet our Clients. We rely on the satisfaction we assume they derive from the installations we do around the world. This was an opportunity to do something for Clients who will undoubtedly appreciate what we do and at a level that could never be considered good value if donations were spent on it. ...and it was right on our doorstep.
This project at Ideaworks has been the most rewarding endeavour we've ever undertaken, and it has been an absolute pleasure for us to be part of it.”
Kevin Andrews, Managing Director, Ideaworks
“We Are Beams is a charity based in North West Kent providing vital support and short breaks for children and young people with disabilities and their families.
What started as a small group of parents working together to support their disabled children has grown rapidly, with Beams now offering a wide range of key support services to families across North West Kent and the surrounding area. This includes a residential facility where young people can enjoy overnight breaks.
Together for Cinema came our way through a mutual contact - Peter Alloway from ‘Invision UK’. Peter was aware of the great work Beams were undertaking and following an initial scoping conversation with Ian Morrish from TFC it became clear that a home cinema type of installation would be achievable for us (and something we would never be able to afford ourselves!!).
As we could not dedicate a whole room to the home cinema, it was important to achieve a flexible solution that facilitated multi-purpose use of the room. The project progressed super smoothly following the identification of a suitable installer for us – the excellent Ideaworks. Having met with the founder Kevin Andrews to finalise plans, a ‘media wall’ was agreed as the best solution for these circumstances and Ideaworks and TFC quickly set about gathering together the necessary resources and kit.
Kevin and his installation team arrived on site a few weeks later and provided the most wonderful media wall, lighting scheme and automatic blinds for the windows and doors. We have been absolutely blown away by the professionalism and friendliness of both Ian and Kevin throughout this process and finished product is quite simply superb. We cannot wait for upcoming movie evenings for our residents.”
Paul Kennedy, Deputy Head of Charity, We Are Beams.
PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MAKING IT HAPPEN:
• Ian Morrish (Founder and Managing Director, Together for Cinema)
• Kevin Andrews (Managing Director, Ideaworks)
• Danny Bourke and Rich Harris (Installation Managers, Ideaworks)
• 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 We Are Beams, and in turn, have made a real difference to so many people’s lives.
With the room needing to maintain a high degree of multifunctionality there were some limitations as to what solution, and hence what equipment, we could look to install. Based on this a Media Wall was proposed and this really did hit the spot as the right solution for We Are Beams.
This still turned out to be an installation that We Are Beams would never normally consider as the costs are prohibitive for a charity that has to work hard for their funding and of course the care is the ultimate priority…
The end result is a stunning Media Wall, with ambient lighting creating a wonderful AV experience for so many different uses. Had the installation been paid for the total cost, including consultation, design, installation and all the products would have been in the region of £18,000. Quite simply a luxury that We Are Beams would never be able to afford. It’s been a pleasure helping them secure this.
This was Together for Cinema’s 41st good cause cinema room installation and has 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 Kevin Andrews and his team at Ideaworks. 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.