The Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice has premiered its own brilliant inhouse cinema, bringing the thrill of the big screen to youngsters and their families.
Many families cared for by the Huddersfield-based hospice can’t go to public cinemas because of their child’s condition.
But thanks to Together for Cinema and Leeds-based cinema installation company Bespoke Home Cinemas, a magical cinema space has been created at the hospice so that children with life-shortening conditions and their families can enjoy the thrill of going to the movies.
The cinema at Russell House features state-of-the-art kit such as a halo cinema screen with LED surround and 4K projector, automatic motorised blinds and acoustic fabric walls – all donated for free by dozens of manufacturers and suppliers.
The cinema space and equipment would probably have cost £40,000 without the help of sponsors and supporters.
Forget Me Not families will be able to book their own screenings and enjoy films from a huge range available.
Attending the grand opening of the cinema were three of the families Forget Me Not supports, Gifford and Melanie Malcolm, company directors of Bespoke Home Cinemas, Ian Morrish from Together for Cinema and representatives from some of the companies who kindly supplied essential pieces of equipment and materials to make the cinema possible.
After watching a special screening of Disney’s new film Luca in the cinema, Kelly, whose son Miles was supported by Forget Me Not, said: “It’s more special than I ever thought it could be! After everything we’ve been through and with Miles’ sister Elsie and brother Jack missing out on so much, it’s so brilliant to have this.”
Luen Thompson, chief executive at Forget Me Not, said: “This year we’re celebrating 10 years since our hospice was built. Being able to mark this incredible milestone with a fantastic state-of-the-art cinema is something we could never have imagined.
“It means the world to us to be able to bring the magic of the movies to the hospice, giving our families the chance to make very special memories together.
“A huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen – including Bespoke Home Cinemas, Together for Cinema and Gamers Beat Cancer who donated games consoles, games and controllers so that our cinema can also double as a games room!”
Ian Morrish from Together for Cinema said: “This installation was our 26th charitable installation. The end result is quite simply magnificent and a fabulous gift to a children’s hospice that is pioneering in its level of care and attention to the children and their families that so need their help.
“Thank you to all the manufacturers, distributors and other suppliers who kindly donated all the fantastic kit free of charge. The approximate cost of the installation would have been around £40,000.”
Melanie Malcolm, of Bespoke Home Cinemas, said: “We have always wanted to donate one of our cinema rooms to charity and after recently celebrating our 25th year in business and Forget Me Not Hospice celebrating their 10th birthday, it’s a very special gift from us to them.
“This room will be one we at Bespoke Home Cinemas will hold as a special place in our hearts, hearing the pleasure and joy it will bring to the children and families makes all the time and effort worthwhile.”
Bespoke managing director Gifford Malcolm added: “We feel privileged to have worked on this project.
“We wanted to provide the best room physically possible and with the support from our suppliers and installers, we did just that.
“For some children and families who sadly are unable to experience a commercial cinema environment, the room provides that ultimate cinematic atmosphere with a little sprinkle of magic.”
Since Russell House was built 10 years ago, over 800 families have been cared for by Forget Me Not, which provides clinical and respite care, memory-making, therapy and counselling, end of life care and bereavement support. With just 6% of funding coming from the government, the charity must raise over £4m in charitable donations each year to ensure it is able to give the children and families the support they need.