BRINGING HOME CINEMA
TO CHILDREN WITH SHORT LIVES

Acorns for the Three Counties

LOCATION:
Acorns for the Three Counties is located in Worcester in England and is part of three Acorn’s Hospices in England that are part of Together For Short Lives, formerly Children’s Hospices UK.

www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk

HOW INITIAL CONTACT WAS MADE:
At the beginning of 2011 we had already generated some PR nationally about the work the AV industry is doing in trying to bring the joy of Home Cinema to children with short lives. Then, following further PR from, Children’s Hospices UK (as they were known as then) to their members in August 2011, I was contacted by Acorns in the Three Counties and an initial meeting was arranged for 22nd August. At our meeting we considered a couple of different rooms that might be suitable but it was very clear to me that one particular room was ideal for the Home Cinema install that we were proposing. I outlined this to the staff at Acorns in Worcester and I think, as impressed as they were with what we were proposing, they were a little sceptical as to whether or not we could actually deliver what we were offering. After all, it’s not every day someone offers you a comprehensive Home Cinema system for nothing!

HOW THE INSTALLER / PROJECT MANAGER WAS FOUND:
As a response to industry PR, and various conversations I had had with industry colleagues, Jonathan Pengilley at Habitech Ltd came forward and said that he would like Habitech to manage one single install in it’s entirety. A great offer and of course Habitech distribute some excellent brands whose products would be suitable for a high quality Home Cinema installation. Jonathan also took on the job of sourcing the installers and it was agreed that once we found a suitable install we would talk further..., and Acorns in Worcester seemed to be the ideal project...

INITIAL SPECIFICATION:
Adrian Hicks, Habitech’s Technical Director, visited Acorns in Worcester on October 20th to view the room and consider what options would be suitable for the install. With a strong stable of AV products under his distribution Adrian was quickly able to commit to the proposed install and he set about drawing up a kit list.

SOURCING OF PRODUCT:
With Habitech having distribution rights to many suitable products they were happy to take on the sourcing of product for the install and this was completed very quickly. Both Adrian and Jonathan were able to reach out to their suppliers and get donations for all products required for the Home Cinema..., however...

Adrian and I spoke and it seemed that there was one product that Habitech weren’t able to supply that would finish the install off nicely..., this being motorised blinds for the one wall that was virtually all window. Adrian tasked me with sourcing these and I put a quick call to an industry friend of mine at Goelst UK, and, once they heard about Acorns in Worcester, they were more than happy to supply what was required, and also to send down a consultant to get the area measured up etc... Thank you Goelst..., now all products were sourced, ‘just’ the install to do!

INSTALL STARTED:
Wednesday 30th November, 2011

THE INSTALL
“We wanted to be involved with the installation from start to finish, but as Habitech are not installers I asked Jason from the Breathe Group for some help. So on the 30th November Jason, Matt and Mark from Breathe joined me on site and put in a sterling days work running and terminating the cables, fitting the speakers, screen and projector mount. By the end of the day, when they left, most  of the physical installation was complete,  We then installed and tested the kit, and programmed the remotes to make the operation of the system as simple as possible. The most rewarding aspect of the installation was the warmth of the welcome and support we received from the staff at Acorns. They could have not been more welcoming and helpful, clearing the room and plying us with food and drink. It was very satisfying to see the reaction as the blinds and screen came down and to know that the system will be appreciated by the staff and children.” Adrian Hicks, Habitech Limited

INSTALL COMPLETED AND FINAL SIGN OFF:
Friday 2nd December, 2011

CUSTOMER COMMENTS:
“I was initially contacted by Ian Morrish who made me an offer I thought was too good to be true – the provision of a cinema room within the Acorns Children’s Hospice in Worcester. I arranged to meet with Ian at Worcester with other members of the Hospice team, at which a room was identified that appeared ideal for conversion to a cinema room. It was at this point that the project became more of a reality.

From our perspective a cinema available by Christmas was the ideal but Ian advised us that engaging companies to provide the equipment & expertise could take several months to achieve, which would take us into 2012. Ian gave me contact details for Habitech and Adrian Hicks visited the hospice and it was from that point onwards that an installation before Christmas became a real possibility. The installation for the cinema began on the 30th Nov, which would not have been possible without Ian, Adrian, Habitech, other suppliers and the technicians who gave of their time & expertise.

The room was something that the children & young people had requested through youth groups in the hospice, and the benefits to children & families accessing the hospice have been both social and therapeutic. The cost of supporting children & young people to access the cinema externally was prohibitive, in excess of £200 per excursion to cover tickets, transport and staffing, and was therefore not something that could be supported regularly. The cinema room is large enough to enable all the children & young people who use the hospice to enjoy the cinema experience, including those restricted to bed. It also enables those experiencing pain or uncomfortable treatments to absorb themselves in an experience that will distract them for a while from the reality of their situation. The room also enables individuals to share experiences with their peer group.

Some of the young people have worked on projects which included film making and the room will enable them to hold presentation evenings displaying their work. All those who have experienced the cinema room, in the short time it has been open, have all been extremely positive about it and regular cinema evenings have taken place over Christmas and the New Year and more are planned for the coming months,

I would like to extend a huge thank you from all the families, children and staff to all those who have made this wonderful on-going experience possible.” Peter Morris, Head of Care, Acorns for the Three Counties

INSTALLER COMMENTS:
“I am delighted that we have been able to provide this facility for the kids, We were told that it was very expensive to take them to the cinema and therefore it didn’t happen very often. I have heard that the Cinema is being used heavily and that a lot of kids have had a lot of fun, and this is what makes me smile. I just hope that Acorns are on the phone every few months asking for another new bulb as then we know it’s all being used heavily.” Jonathan Pengilley, Habitech Limited

KIT LIST THAT WAS DONATED:
WEIS: A 2.5m Motorised Electric Screen on the wall behind a cover which I hope to paint to match the wall finish. This screen will automatically deploy when the projector is turned on.
EPSON: A 3200 Home Cinema Projector
SONANCE: 5 x VP65R Ceiling Speakers
SONANCE: Subwoofer 10
YAMAHA: Cinema Surround Amplifier
YAMAHA: BluRay Player
GOELST: Motorised Blinds
UNIVERSAL REMOTE CONTROL: Wall Mounted Control Panel (donated by Habitech)
UNIVERSAL REMOTE CONTROL: Handheld Rechargeable Controller (donated by Habitech)

FINANCIALS:
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 £10,000 for an end user price.

Habitech Ltd have also committed to be available for any servicing and technical queries post install.

SUMMARY:
I was delighted to be able to take Jonathan Pengilley up on his offer of ‘total assistance’ in managing the install and helping to source the products. This made the Acorns for the Three Counties install a quick, efficient and I hope for Habitech, easy, install to complete.

For what we as the AV industry are trying to achieve this is a ‘near perfect model’, in that there has been assistance from many companies to make this happen.

It’s great to hear the positive feedback from Peter Morris at Acorns about how the children and their families have enjoyed their new Cinema Room and I know that many more will do so in the future.

Finally, my thanks to Jonathan and Adrian at Habitech, the installers from the Breathe Group and all the manufacturers that supported the project – I can confidently say that your efforts, and combined generosity, will make a difference to all those that use the room for many years to come..., and this is something that we should all be very proud of.

Report Created by Ian Morrish. All quotes to be from Ian Morrish, unless otherwise stated.

For further details please contact Ian at:-
Work: 01372 454366
Mobile: 07768 398007
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Email Us
Phone: 01372 454366
PR, Shereen at Wildwood
Shereen.Russell@wildwoodpr.co.uk
Phone: 01293 851115
www.togetherforshortlives.org
Phone: 0117 989 7820
With thanks to CEDIA for their help and support with this work.