Saint Francis Hospice: Filmmaker volunteers his skills

Filmmaker James Cook has been volunteering his services to help the hospice. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice

Filmmaker James Cook has been volunteering his services to help the hospice. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice - Credit: Archant

Filmmaker James Cook explains why he has been giving up his time to help Saint Francis Hospice raise awareness of its services.

As a filmmaker, my credits include working for Secret London and Crystal Palace FC. I own FOSTER Studios, and I’ve been voluntarily offering my skills to Saint Francis Hospice since 2019.

I’m 24 and lucky enough to have never known anyone who has needed hospice care, so the first time I went to Saint Francis Hospice, I was expecting it to be the same as a hospital. But it’s far from a clinical environment. I felt as though I was filming in someone’s home — albeit with more people.

I wanted to dispel the misconception that the hospice is a scary place. So many people love being there — myself and patients included. The hospice is beautiful, which makes for great films.

I also had the privilege of filming a patient in his home. It was a very humbling experience as he was sitting somewhere where he’d never sat before: in front of a camera.

I realise the camera and equipment can be intimidating and I had the responsibility of making him feel comfortable so he could share his experience of hospice care.

In March, I filmed the hospice’s Mission Mud event and just like everyone else, I had no idea that everything was about to change when we went into our first lockdown.

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My business was wiped out from April to May so I continued offering my services to the hospice.

Things picked up again in June and July and I got involved in some exciting projects – these included filming with Hamley’s and the ex-footballers Joe Cole and Rio Ferdinand.

But I’ve discovered that working locally is most rewarding and while the pandemic has made life difficult and more uncertain, it has created opportunities.

I’ve gained so much experience this year and I get so much satisfaction from volunteering with the hospice as I know the films I create will have a positive impact. They will raise awareness of the valuable work the charity does and inspire people to get involved if they can.

As Christmas approaches, I’m looking forward to helping the hospice highlight all the wonderful things that happen on the ward during the festive period.

Find out more about volunteering at the hospice by visiting