Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


Hospital is the last place anyone wants to be, but having to be in hospital at Christmas is especially hard. While hospital staff aim to enable as many patients as possible to go home for the Christmas period, some are simply too ill and have no choice but to spend Christmas on a hospital ward.

Our MediCinema in the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) brings the magic of the movies to patients and their families throughout the year, including the Christmas period. Built using the same suppliers and architects as mainstream cinemas and featuring the latest technology, including a big screen, Dolby surround sound and RealD 3D technology, it looks and feels just like any other cinema. The only difference is it’s specially designed for the RVI with extra power supplies for drips, etc., and accessible for wheelchairs and even hospital beds, so no-matter a patient’s condition, we are able to welcome them, and all our screenings are completely free.

Going to the MediCinema gives patients and their families a sense of normality and much-needed break from life in hospital and all that goes with it – the boredom, the feeling of being cut off from normal life, and the worries and stresses of that time, all of which often seem worse at Christmas. This improves the emotional health of patients and their families at a time when it is particularly at risk.

A study by a team at Oxford University in September 2016 found that watching emotive films boosts people's pain threshold and made people feel closer to each other. Christmas can be a difficult time for many families, but when a loved-one is in hospital it is even harder. Going to the cinema together helps their relationship at a time when it is particularly under strain.

Sadly, not all our patients have visitors, even at Christmas when loneliness is often most keenly felt. MediCinema gives these patients the chance to meet each other and share a sense of community.

We recently ran a survey to measure the benefits of going to MediCinema. Here are a few key results:

• 92% believe MediCinema helps to improve wellbeing
• 84% agree or strongly agree with the statement, 'MediCinema is a good distraction and helps take my mind off things'
• 77% agree or strongly agree with the statement, 'I enjoy the social aspect of going to MediCinema and meeting other people'
• 100% would recommend MediCinema to others

Just as important to us, however, are the experiences of our patients and their families. Here are a few examples:

‘I love this cinema, it makes me forget about the fact that I am in hospital.’ Holly, aged 11, who was being treated with IV antibiotics for an infection which had spread to her heart.

‘It really uplifted my mood being able to go to MediCinema with my husband and two children, especially as I miss them so much.' Elizabeth who had leg ulcers and had to spend over five weeks in hospital.

‘I was in hospital for my little boy’s third birthday as well as Christmas and New Year, which was really hard… MediCinema was a welcome bit of sanity and escapism. I completely forgot I was in hospital while I was in there… It took my mind off everything.’ Vicky, who had complications with the birth of her second child.

A grant from the Aviva Community Fund would fully fund all our Christmas screenings at the RVI for 2018, enabling us to bring the magic of cinema to over 100 patients like Holly, Elizabeth and Vicki and their families. This will give them the chance to enjoy a Christmas trip to the cinema like any other family and lose themselves in the magic of the movies.


Moment of Pride

MediCinema is such a unique solution to a very common problem, and you can really see the difference it makes to patients. It’s amazing how much happiness can be created by the simple act of shining light on a screen.

Location: Newcastle upon Tyne