Paul Jackson with Louise Broadbent and Simon Hickson
With Christmas just around the corner, it's a time for giving and thinking of others. The MediCinema at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is a lovely project which allows patients and their families a break from the ward and all the difficulties of being in hospital to watch the latest films. I was therefore delighted to visit MediCinema on 17th December 2018 and present a cheque for £10,000. With some patients requiring nurses to assist them during screenings, this sum will go some way towards their costs.
MediCinema is a charity that builds, installs and runs cinemas in hospitals. The cinemas are designed specifically to accommodate wheelchairs and hospital beds whilst maintaining a real and immersive cinema experience away from the wards for patients and their families.
The first hospital cinema opened in 1999. There are now six MediCinemas; five in hospitals and one in a children’s care home. MediCinema plans to double the number of sites and triple the annual number of people they reach by 2025. The current number of patients using the service is over 18,000.
How MediCinema helps patients
I met Louise Broadbent, Senior Fundraising Officer – Trust & Foundations and Simon Hickson – Cinema Manager, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Louise explained that being in hospital is hard and while some patients spend mere hours on a ward, many more are admitted for weeks, months and even years at a time. As well as the pain, discomfort and other difficulties their condition brings, being in hospital restricts patients to the hospital grounds and cuts them off from life outside the hospital. With little to do, boredom becomes a real problem, and it is almost impossible for patients to have any sense of normality.
Simon Hickson introduces all the films and is excellent with patients. He explained that it is usual for all the bed and wheelchair spaces to be full. Simon is a former children’s TV presenter from the 1980s and 1990s, when he was one-half of the Trevor and Simon duo!
I was very moved by the enjoyment the patients were deriving from the film and meeting other patients in a social situation. I was also very impressed by the impact made by this charity.