Strictly Cinema! Joanne Clifton welcomes young visitors with the hottest movie tickets in town!
AFTER months of hard work from a whole range of experts, St Andrew’s Hospice has finally opened its doors to the charity’s new cinema room – and it’s simply fabulous!
The 10-guest room has been kitted out with 2.6-metre-wide, 1.5-metre-high screen, surround sound, special comfy bean bags, cinema seats, plush carpets, plenty of pictures with movie references and a stunning, sparkling ceiling. Netflix and Disney are available in the plush, former storage room, which has become an absolute dream come true for the young people who were there to see BBC Strictly dancer and St Andrew’s Hospice ambassador, Joanne Clifton, cut the ribbon as the first movie-goers filtered in.
Three of Andy’s Children’s Hospice patients were there to enjoy the moment, along with their families, several hospice staff and, of course, the people that made it happen.
Ian Morrish, of Surrey-based organisation Together For Cinema explained: “We work quite closely with an organisation called Together For Short Lives, who not only collaborate with Andy’s Children’s Hospice, here in Grimsby, they also help to promote what we do.
“Together For Cinema is a ‘good cause enterprise’, soon to be a charity, that offers hospices and other similar charities around the country the opportunity for their own cinema room, of which there are currently 37 across the UK.
“We work with local tradespeople where possible and are donated products from a number of respected companies, such as Sony, Starscape, Reiko, HD Anywhere, and more – there are 18 regular contributors, in total.”
Approached by the hospice, having heard about Together For Cinema, Ian then began coordinating the professionals, who ventured over to Grimsby to take a look at the available space. Sonic Vision, a Nottingham-based audio-visual company, is run by directors Ben Cook and Ben Stansfield, and it was their job to see how best to plan the cinema at St Andrew’s.
They said: “We came over to Grimsby to look at the project and created a concept, having discussed the requirements with the hospice staff, who wanted it to be not only accessible, but also fun for the children at Andy’s. Then we basically gave Ian a shopping list!
“We are both parents, so it was wonderful to come and work on something for the children at Andy’s. Their faces said it all when they first arrived at their new cinema!”
Local to Grimsby, other companies that generously contributed time and other essentials to the project include shopfitters Wilton Cobley, TR Carpets Cleethorpes, and Nexus Electrical Solutions.
Head of Children’s and Wellbeing Services at St Andrew’s Hospice, Elinor Whitaker, said: “We are so grateful to everyone who helped to make the dream come true for our young patients. So many of our families feel that they are unable to take their children to the cinema, as they are expected to keep quiet while a film is showing, for example, and lots of children at Andy’s would find that quite impossible. This is the reason the cinema was considered, and has now become a reality, and it’s absolutely fantastic!”
Of course, no opening of a brand-new entertainment room would be the same without a celebrity to cut the ribbon and who better to do it than Grimsby’s own Joanne Clifton?
She said: “I am lost for words. I walked in and everything about the room is so special. I wasn’t really sure what to expect and got a bit overwhelmed when I saw how beautiful it is. I love the sparkly lights on the ceiling, and the lovely pictures on the wall – it’s truly magical!”
One of the dads commented that the cinema room would be a “safe space” in which their children can enjoy a film, without worrying about upsetting people around them and the hospice has confirmed that the cinema is the latest fabulous addition to the whole ‘experience campus’ that’s being developed on the site which includes the newly opened coffee shop, the cinema, play areas, the hair salon, hydropool and a range of sensory facilities. From tech experts to staff and onlookers, everyone was delighted with the happy and excited response from the little ones seeing their special room for the first time, and that has made the whole journey truly worthwhile. The only problem now … who will be in charge of the remote?
To find out more about the hospice and its work, visit www.standrewshospice.com.