Iain Brown of Kensington Home Technology remembers the moment he heard about ISE sales manager Ian Morrish’s Together For Cinema initiative, founded after Ian was inspired by an episode of The Secret Millionaire that featured a holiday home for terminally ill children and their families.

“I read an article in a trade magazine about the project and immediately knew we had to get involved,” Iain reflects.

The Helen & Douglas House Hospice was Iain’s second Together For Cinema install, having completed a cinema room for the Chestnut Tree Hospice in Sussex the previous year – making Kensington Home Technology the first installer to commit to a second project.

“I was apprehensive on my first visit to Chestnut Tree House as I didn’t know what to expect. I feared I would find the whole thing a little overwhelming,” Iain admits.

“However I was wrong in my preconceptions. These facilities, whilst treating children with very serious illnesses, are totally geared up to provide the children with as much fun as possible, whilst providing their carers with a much needed break.

“The sense of satisfaction I and our installation team got from this install meant that we were keen to do another one,” he says.

“We all already give to charities that we support, but it is really rewarding to use our skills to physically do something that brings so much fun to the children.”

“I was apprehensive on my first visit to Chestnut Tree House as I didn’t know what to expect. I feared I would find the whole thing a little overwhelming”

Helen & Douglas House is an independent charity running two hospice houses located on the outskirts of Oxford.

In fact, Helen House is special in that it was the world’s first children’s hospice, opening in 1982, while Douglas House opened in 2004, specifically for young adults aged 16-35.

Helen & Douglas House cares for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions and provides support for 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.

Wishing to give its patients the best possible quality of life, the hospice wished to install a cinema room.

“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,” explains Sarah Westmorland, director of people resourcing and operations, Helen & Douglas House. “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.”

The project, like all of those that have gone before, relies entirely on the generosity of the AV industry and in particular an installer willing to become involved.

Having met with the staff at Helen House, an appropriate room was decided upon and a preferred kit list assembled.

“When Ian Morrish contacted me earlier in the year about Helen & Douglas House, we were delighted to get involved” Iain continues.

“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. Once again our suppliers were more than happy to be a part of the project and sourcing of our preferred kit list was achieved very quickly. The installation was relatively straightforward as we had carried out a detailed pre-install survey and identified all potential issues prior to commencing works.”

The kit list was, as ever, very ambitious yet due to Ian’s contacts within the industry, all of the equipment was sourced quickly.

Brands such as Crestron, Dataflow, Epson, Gefen, Humax, Kaleidescape, Monitor Audio, Velodyne and Yamaha were generously donated – all products and services being sourced, supplied and installed free of 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 has also committed to be available for any servicing and technical queries post-install.

The installation itself was completed in a couple of days and a final day was needed to finish the programming and commission the system.

“There were no real technical difficulties, apart from the single pitch sloped roof which meant mounting the projector was difficult,” Iain admits. “Here we customised a standard bracket which worked out really well.”

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

Crucially, the children at the hospice have made good use of the cinema so far, commenting: “Best of all is the sound can be turned up really loud and nobody tells us off! It makes our skin tingle and bellies wobble!”

Iain reports that the whole experience has been very positive: “I hope that the children get to enjoy the room for many years to come.”

Kensington Home Technology has already signed up for its third Together For Cinema project at Naomi House in Hampshire.

“Cables are being run as we speak and I would expect to be installing in June,” says Iain.

“I would like to do another project next year if there is a suitable project geographically – we support the systems we install so we need to be able to get to them reasonably quickly.

Read on for the full donated kit list and find out how you can offer your services.

Donated Kit list

Crestron (Control): MTX3 Controller and a MC3 processor
Dataflow IT (Screen): Eyeline Pro Electric Screen
Epson (Projector): EH-TW9100
Gefen, donated by Digibox (Cables): GefenToolBox Extender for HDMI with POL
Humax: DTR-T1010/500 Youview box
Kaleidescape (Media Server): Cinema 1
Middle Atlantic, donated by RGB Communications (Racking): Credenza 2 bay rack, with Cherry Wood surround
Monitor Audio (Speakers): 3 x Soundframe 2’s and 2 x Soundframe 3’s
Velodyne, donated by Redline (Sub-woofer): SPL-1000-Ultras
Yamaha (AV Receiver): RX-V775

Other accessories were donated directly by Kensington Home Technology.

To offer your services as a manufacturer, distributor or installer to Together For Cinema, click here.

Related…

How Together For Cinema is changing lives at Demelza Children’s Hospice