Introducing Together For Cinema’s directors

Together For Cinema gives a profile on its newly appointed board of directors following its CIC status grant.

In the last issue, we announced Together For Cinema (TFC) being granted Community Interest Company (CIC) status, and Melanie Malcolm from Bespoke Home Cinemas, Cadaema Consulting Services’ David Parrett, and Chris Pinder from HDANYWHERE and OneAV as newly appointed directors. They are joining TFC founder, Ian Morrish, in his quest to create and install home cinema rooms in children's hospices and other appropriate locations throughout the UK. In this issue, we are taking a closer look at the new team, and what they bring to this very special party.

“I feel like I've been involved in TFC for years,” says Melanie [pictured below]. “I was aware of Ian's work for a long time before that. I sit on the CEDIA board and was there when we gave him a recognition award. That was when TFC really came to my attention.”

Watching from the sidelines, Melanie says she loved the work Ian was doing and knew her company, Bespoke Home Cinemas, would want to get involved in a hospice installation. “I messaged Ian and said I'd love to be part of it. When he started forming his steering committee, he asked me to join it,” she says.

Working in advisory capacity, along with four or five other like-minded industry professionals, Melanie brought her knowledge as a cinema installation company, along with her event management and marketing experience within the charity sector to the fore to help behind the scenes. It was shortly after that Bespoke Home Cinemas completed its first TFC hospice installation. “I worked on the project myself and it was such an emotional experience, I was totally hooked,” she recalls.

When conversations began about whether TFC should become a charity or a CIC, Melanie was a constant support to Ian, helping him through the decision-making process. “When Ian asked me to be a director, it was a nice transition. I was already in the thick of it, so it was an easy decision to accept. It’s a great fit for me personally.”

David Parrett’s background as a sales director in facilities management and now as a consultant brings a different perspective to TFC. His role is, he says, to provide ‘checks and balances’.

His motivation for becoming involved stems from his university training as a teacher and then his role with Westminster Council providing transport for children with special needs.

“Despite my ultimate change in career, I've always had an interest in education, children with special needs, and disadvantaged children,” says David [pictured below]. “More latterly, I’ve become a school governor. In fact, I'm chair of governors at a local primary school where we live and have a portfolio specialty there for children with special needs. Ian is a very good friend of mine – our children go to school together – so we have a personal link as well. I’d started my own business three years ago and was keen to find an altruistic, extracurricular endeavour and joining Ian at TFC became a very obvious next step for me.”

The fourth addition to the team, Chris Pinder, who first came into contact with TFC around five years ago, is well-known for supplying HDMI products to the custom install industry, but has also gained a loyal following for his TFC fund raising endeavours.

“We were supplying cables every now and then to TFC’s cinema rooms,” he recalls. “Our overall contribution for each project was tiny. I was frustrated that we couldn't do more than just donate the cable and I always had at the back of my mind a hope that one day we would be able to do more.”

Then lockdown happened. Chris’s beloved football was cancelled, but he still wanted to get out the house. “I started doing the odd jog around the block, just to keep sane really and try and keep the beer belly at bay,” he laughs. “As things began to open up again, I happened to be in the office one day and I saw a social post from Ian about TFC’s latest project. I think it was Derian House, and at that moment everything just sort of clicked and I thought right, I'm going to do something to raise money for TFC.”

Searching for out of the ordinary challenges that would really make people take notice, he googled ‘hardest race in the world’ and came across the Marathon Des Sables (French for Marathon of the Sands), a gruelling six-day, 251km ultramarathon held every year in southern Morocco’s Sahara Desert. Despite not having even run a half marathon, he impulsively signed up on the spot. His journey from zero to the finishing line is the stuff of legend (you can read more about it in his blog) and he raised a staggering £46,000.

Chris [pictured below] wanted to become a director as he feels forever emotionally attached to TFC because of how intense the Marathon Des Sables experience was, and also because of the incredible level of support the industry has shown the cause.

“I'm hopeful that what I did will be copied by other people doing other crazy challenges, and will continue to help raise funds, as well as encourage the donation of more equipment,” he says. “For some projects, 80% of the equipment is already in place but they need to buy a ‘this or a that’ so they'd be able to finish the project. I think we might be able to go from five a year to maybe eight or nine, even ten a year with a little bit more help from myself and the other directors.”

With that aim in mind, TFC is pushing forward with its mission to grow and expand its plans, and already has seven projects lined up for completion this year, with more in the pipeline for 2024.

“I’m absolutely delighted that we’re now officially recognised as a not-for-profit organisation, and that Melanie, David and Chris are joining me as directors,” says Ian [pictured right]. “Each of them brings different skills and knowledge, and having their input is going to be invaluable. We’ve already achieved a lot, but having an expanded team that knows the industry, and has such passion to help us achieve even more, is truly heart-warming.”

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