D.R.E.A.M Centre, Chailey Heritage Centre

Chailey Heritage Foundation provides schooling and residential care for children and young adults with complex physical disabilities, high health needs, sensory impairments, and associated learning difficulties.

In 2016, Blair Parkin (principal, TEECOM) was approached by Matt Barton (CEO 7thSense Design / Medialon) with a request to help out on a project Matt had been working on with Chailey Heritage Foundation. 

Matt is also the Scout Leader at 2nd Chailey, a Scout group for young people who attend Chailey Heritage Foundation.

Every summer, like most Scout groups, 2nd Chailey go on their Summer Camp, but for 2nd Chailey, this is quite an endeavour. Such are the complex needs of the young people who attend that a 7.5-ton truck full of equipment and a team of 50+ volunteers are required to make the camp happen.

It was at one of these camps that Matt first played with immersive storytelling for the Scouts using a media server and a set of projectors set up in a tent! A few months later, Chailey asked Matt to help them with a project they’d been working on to design and build an immersive space as part of their new school sports hall and theatre: the D.R.E.A.M. Centre (dynamic, real, experiential, amazing, magical). 

Chailey Heritage Foundation launched the D.R.E.A.M. Centre Appeal in 2016 with a £3.1m fundraising initiative and a plan to replace an ageing 1950’s assembly hall with a modern, purpose built indoor sports and activity centre that will allow young people, all of whom are in wheelchairs, to play indoor sports, take part in drama and musical performances, develop their balance through rebound therapy, learn to drive a powered wheelchair, and broaden their horizons through a state of the art state-of-the-art immersive experience zone.

The idea was to create an amazing facility on the Chailey campus where the children could enjoy a range of experiences not normally accessible to them. Matt worked with Chailey to develop the concept and quickly reached out to the TEECOM team to get involved and help turn the dream into a reality.

TEECOM and 7thSense were actively involved in fundraising – finding technology and integration partners to offer their support on the project.

North Star Engineers were awarded the supply and integration contract for D.R.E.A.M. Centre towards the end of the AV detailed design phase.

During the latter part of the project, North Star Engineers worked alongside the team from 7thSense Design to ensure that the systems delivered not only met the design brief, but exceeded client expectations.

It’s an entirely configurable space – one that tells a story – hoists, moving doors and special real-time effects with smart automation and live content create an experience will allow young people to be ‘transported’ virtually to different countries and experience the sights and sounds from around the world.

On October 17 2019, The Duchess of Cornwall officially opened the D.R.E.A.M. Centre.

The D.R.E.A.M. Centre is now one of the most technologically innovative and cutting-edge facilities of its kind in the UK. This will be available not just to the 236 young people who use their facilities, but to the wider local community and especially to community groups such as the scouts and local drama groups – Chailey Heritage Centre anticipates that approximately 1,000 people will use the Dream Centre every year.

  • Country: UK
  • Date: October 2019
  • Installation Partners: TEECOM (UK), Epson (UK) Ltd, Deacon Richardson Architects, North Star Engineers Ltd, Medialon

(left to right) 7thSense Design’s Matt Barton, Ian Cannell & Richard Brown with TEECOM’s Blair Parkin and David Marks 

What the D.R.E.A.M Centre offers – Immersive Space Modes of Operation

All media and displays are driven by a 7thSense Infinity media server.

Show control is automated and handled by Medialon Showmaster LE.

MODE 1: ACCESSIBLE STORYTELLING SPACE

  • Full stage
  • Teacher can take class on a ‘journey’ through presentation of video, imagery, sounds / sense of an experience
  • Sports Hall is simultaneously available for young people to use

MODE 2: Storytelling and Rebound

  • Storytelling room available for small groups
  • Rebound room available for rebound therapy
  • Sports hall is simultaneously available for other young people to use

MODE 3: Theatre / Presentation

  • Full stage available with ‘virtual sets’
  • Audience located in sports hall
  • Front room projection also available for presentations

FACILITIES IN DETAIL

Sports, games, and exercise: Wheelchair driving lessons, disability football and boccia on a court that is large enough for 5-a-side team. 

Rebound Therapy: a trampoline built into the stage is used as a fun way to provide opportunities for movement, therapeutic exercise and recreation, as well as developing confidence, fitness and a sense of wellbeing.

Performance & Celebration: A Space large enough for the whole community to come together with a stage and seating for drama & performance art; facilities for presentations & award ceremonies, visiting performers, lectures and exhibitions; cinema and multimedia; costumes and other ‘props’ for theatrical performances.

4D Immersive experience zone: A sensory zone that allows young people to simulate real world environments, enabling them to travel ‘virtually’ to different countries, experiencing the sights and sounds of famous locations from around the world. Most of the young people will never be able to travel, so this allows us to bring the world to them.

One of the most technologically advanced aspects of the D.R.E.A.M. Centre is the stage area. This will not just be used for drama and performances, but also for rebound therapy using a trampoline which is integrated into the stage using a hydraulic lift and removable lid. 

Users can divide the stage area into two rooms, using semi-automatic partitions. The space can also be used in its entirety, either as an expanded Immersive Zone or as a stage for drama and performances. 

The immersive space enables children and young people who are unable to travel because of their complex disabilities and health needs to access environments from books and photographs. Life-sized videoscapes with sound, intensified by smell and touch experiences enable staff to create much more stimulating and engaging environments for themed learning. Imagine images of the empty quarter of Saudi Arabia, with the sound of a wind storm brewing, or an Antarctic landscape with penguins and seals. The ability to programme scenarios tailor-made to the theme adopted by the school class or department increases the flexibility and value of the system to teachers and pupils.

Technology Innovation

The new D.R.E.A.M. Centre provides state-of-the-art technological support, enabling young people to take control of their environment, create the audio and visual effects they want, and explore their feelings and dreams through the medium of sound and light.

The cinema features an Epson EB-L1505UH 12K lumen WUXGA laser projector, with 5.1 channel audio system. There are hanging microphones positioned around the hall. 

A further ten Epson EB-L1505UH projectors are located around the stage areas, projecting onto the walls in a carefully designed display configuration by TEECOM with ultra-short throw lenses.