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Call to action: Home cinema in children’s hospices

A charitable initiative is calling on the residential AV industry to help create a number of home cinema rooms at children’s hospices across the UK.

Following the successful installation of a home cinema room at Donna’s Dream House, a holiday home for terminally ill children in Blackpool, (read more here), industry figure Ian Morrish is now looking to bring home cinemas into children’s hospices.

“Audio and visual entertainment/stimulation is key to children in general and even more so for children with severe physical and mental illness,” said Morrish, who is widely known for his role selling exhibition space for the Integrated Systems Europe show. “In fact at every hospice I have visited, they have a sensory room which is full of equipment to stimulate and entertain via sight, sound and touch. A quality home cinema experience is simply an extension of this offering.”

Many children with severe disabilities have never been to the cinema, because the costs can be prohibitive, he added: ”Did you know it can cost between £150 and £250 to take two wheelchair bound children to the cinema? Specific transport is required, one carer is required per child, there is the cost of the tickets and so on.” With a whole round trip taking five to six hours, there is a significant amount of preparation involving things such as medical supplies, food and drink, and access issues. “Bringing the home cinema experience into the children’s hospice is quite simply a good thing to do,” he stated.

We reported recently that Ian Morrish was due to hold discussions with the organisation Children’s Hospices UK and with the management of individual facilities. Morrish has now received comprehensive proposals from hospices in Belfast, Luton, Rayleigh, Walsall, Winchester and Worcester. “Having personally visited five of these, I feel confident that we can make a difference to at least four of the hospices within the next twelve months,” he said.

Morrish is looking for installers near each of these locations to donate their time and effort to visit the venue, assess the work and determine what cinema solution would be most appropriate. After this, a ‘preferred’ product list (with alternatives) would be drawn up. He is also looking to the wider industry – manufacturers, distributors and dealers – to donate equipment. A typical installation would comprise: projector; remote control screen; AV processor; DVD player; media server; 5.1 speaker package (preferably flatpanel on wall); subwoofer; universal remote control (easy to use); and cables.

Anyone interested in assisting Ian Morrish with this very worthwhile project should contact him by phone (+44 1372 454366 or +44 7768 398007) or email.

“I know times are tough at the moment, but giving a little back is important and something that we as an industry will be proud of,” he concluded.