Interview: How the AV industry found its charitable side

posted on Wednesday, 3rd April 2013 by Steve May

home cinema  Charity 

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The custom install and AV industry has been showing its charitable side over the past 12 months, installing home cinemas and media rooms into children's hospices around the UK. This heartwarming work, featured regularly on Inside CI, has even inspired the organizers of the influential Integrated Systems Europe tradeshow to follow suite, with its own program dubbed SeeHearTouch, intended to benefit children across continent. The man responsible for kick-starting the whole incredible movement is Ian Morrish, sales manager at ISE. Inside CI caught up with Ian to learn more about how this heartwarming initiative began.

So just what gave you the idea of starting this wonderful charity drive?

"I was actually inspired by the Channel Four TV show The Secret Millionaire. One particular episode featured a chap who donated to a place called Donna's Dream House, a holiday home for terminally ill kids. It was all very emotional. At the end of the programme I felt the need to contribute something myself. Looking at the venue, I thought there was scope to get in a nice plasma TV and surround sound system. So I got in touch with them. With the contacts I have I thought I should be able to pull something together…"

How did the project turn out?

"We ended up installing a pretty high-end theatre system, with media server, PMC 5.1 system, cinema chairs and popcorn machines. It worked out really well; when I first saw the effect it had on the children, I just walked out of the room and burst into tears. At that point it turned from me doing something to make myself feel good, which is how most charity initiatives start I suppose, into a responsibility to do it again and again…"

So that led to your involvement with the Together For Short Lives organisation?

"Yes, I then got in touch with Children's Hospices UK after that project, who are now merged with Together For Short Lives…"

The CI industry seems to have really taken the cause to heart; they've got behind it in terms of time and technology…

"Industry support has been excellent, but I'd like to have a few more banked manufacturers and installers ready to go. The jobs don't take very long and installers like to fit these projects in between work. It's good local PR. Of course no one donates anything expecting anything in return. All work and time is supplied free of charge."

So what should installers and manufacturers do if they want to get involved in future projects?

"Just get in touch with me directly, either by email (ian [AT] ad-con [DOT] demon  [DOT] co [DOT] uk) or call me on 01372 454366."

Pictured top, from the left: Ron Pullen of Little Havens receipient of one of the charity installs, alongside Trevor Hardy, Paul Broughton, Larry Brown (from Rayleigh Hi-Fi), and Ian Morrish - plus two of the children enjoying the cinema!

Also read:
CI biz gifts cinema to Bluebell Wood Children's hospice
UK AV charity drive completes four more home cinemas 
Children's hospice initiative gathers pace

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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