Ronald McDonald House Charities: A heart for children

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Valkenburg, Germany (September 9, 2016) – Big Mac, McFlurry, Chicken McNuggets – millions of people say daily: I'm lovin' it. But McDonalds has far more to offer. The fast food chain has always also been a strong advocate of social commitment. Consequently, the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) support severely ill children all over the world. One of more than 300 Ronald McDonald houses worldwide operated by the Foundation for Families of Disabled Children, is situated in the Dutch town of Valkenburg. Situated in the “Ronald McDonald Kindervallei”, the parents can enjoy wonderful holiday accommodation while their children are looked after in the adjacent rehabilitation centre. Technical partner SimonsVoss, with its Digital Locking and Access Control System 3060, is ensuring that they are able to enjoy their holiday untroubled and in safety. 

Since the first Ronald McDonald house was opened in 1974 in Philadelphia, a lot has happened. There are now social facilities in 30 countries worldwide – and since 2007 this has also included Valkenburg, a popular holiday destination in the Netherlands. The colourful holiday apartments in the “Ronald McDonald Kindervallei” are situated directly next to the Adelante rehabilitation centre, which is owned by a separate foundation. There, physically or mentally disabled children and young adults from the age of 2 to 25 years are given specialist care and looked after. True to the motto “closeness helps to heal”, the children, their families and friends can enjoy a holiday together while the children are having treatment.

A temporary home

The imposing house, designed in the shape of a rainbow spiral, was inspired by the plans of the Austrian artist Friedrich Hundertwasser and opened in 2007. Brilliantly equipped common rooms and six cosy guest rooms for parents, along with eight apartments for relatives and friends, ensure a successful and happy family holiday. Thea Coolen, the manager of Kindervallei Valkenburg and its dedicated team of three permanent employees and up to 80 voluntary colleagues – attend lovingly to its guests both large and small. “It was important to us to create a positive, informal and protected atmosphere for all our residents. At the same time, a Hundertwasser house comes with certain ecological guidelines, which we had to satisfy,” says Thea Coolen. The further the planning stage progressed, the more issues such as technical equipment, security and access control came to the fore. Initially, keys were actually planned for the locks, explains Thea. “After a trade fair visit, however, the building team responsible introduced us to the SimonsVoss system. The flexible digital technology with transponders instead of keys impressed us immediately. It allows us to avoid having a tangled collection of keys for users, and changes and extensions can be managed from a central point. With a conventional system, this would have been inconceivable.” Since the system's users are constantly changing, the team also wanted to avoid the domino effect familiar from classic systems that occurs when a key is lost: replacement of locks, dwindling security and high costs.

... for guests small and large

None of these problems exist in Valkenburg, since the main building and all guest rooms are equipped with digital locking cylinders and users are given a transponder to open doors with. At the moment, 150 of the chic digital “keys” are in circulation. Guests are given two transponders. Employees are given one. Whether they be permanent or voluntary employees, guests or external service providers: a quick press on an electronic transponder is all that's needed to open the door. “Individual access is limited, however. Not everyone can pass through every door and into every room,” explains Thea Coolen. As a manager, she naturally has free access everywhere, however guests can only use the main door to their apartment and have access to certain public areas such as the library, lounge or kitchen. Voluntary staff have no authorisation to enter the office and so on: “We always regulate this depending on the usage levels needed.”

A voluntary IT employee is in charge of the system administration in Holland. With the locking system from SimonsVoss, this takes place completely online at the PC by means of easy-to-use Locking System Management software (LSM). It gives the IT employee not only an overview of the entire locking plan within the Ronald McDonald house at a glance, but also a list of all accesses. Within minutes, a new user can be given their access rights via a transponder. Coolen: “With us, the programming is not based on people, but rather on rooms. As soon as here something changes in terms of how a room is used, our colleague can react immediately. And if a transponder is ever lost, he can simply block it. It's fantastic.”

Unsurprisingly, the transponder users think the system is great too. “It takes some getting used to, but we're getting only very good feedback across the board.”

Also popular was the fact that the digital locking cylinders can always be installed without any need for cables – with no drill holes, noise or dirt. And because the system runs on batteries, all 100 cylinders were installed in a flash. There was one system-neutral challenge, however: “We've got very wide wooden doors. Because of the large temperature differences in the summer and winter, there were a few small problems to begin with between the door and the lock. Our specialist firm on site, however, sorted it out pretty quickly.”

Safety always

In terms of safety, SimonsVoss, the technology leader for digital locking and access control systems, is hard to beat: The system fulfils all security requirements through, for example, certification from the German Insurers' Association (VdS) and Dutch SKG. Added to this is the fact that all accesses are logged and can be analysed if required. To protect the support team from any nasty surprises, only cylinders with access logging are therefore installed in Valkenburg. “The great advantage is that you can track everything at all times if, for example, something is missing from the warehouse. That makes you feel safe,” says Thea Coolen.

Together for a good cause

The team in the Dutch Hundertwasser house have been used to the digital technology for a long time. The manager sums up: “We started working with SimonsVoss right at the start, and we don't know any different. However we are absolutely delighted with the service, and we are pleased with our choice of this digital system.” The Dutch project has special significance for SimonsVoss too: after all, who wouldn't want to support a non-profit organisation that is so committed to helping society? Thea Coolen concludes: “It's great when you can help a good cause together.” SimonsVoss also has a heart for children.


Kasten Zitat:

“It was important to us to create a positive, informal and protected atmosphere for all our residents. The flexible digital technology with access via transponders impressed us immediately. It allows us to avoid having a tangled collection of keys for users, and changes and extensions can be managed from a central point. All this would have been inconceivable with a conventional system.”

Thea Coolen, manager of Ronald Mc Donald Kindervallei, Valkenburg aan de Geul, Netherlands


Kasten: Challenge and solution

The challenge:

  • New installation of a digital locking and access control system for one building plus the issuing of transponders to around 150 internal and external users
  • Central administration
  • Free allocation of access authorisations

The solution:

  • Digital, wireless locking system
  • Central access administration on PC with graphical user interface, access authorisations can be remotely reprogrammed


About Allegion™

Allegion (NYSE: ALLE) is a global pioneer in safety and security, with leading brands like CISA®, Interflex®, LCN®, Schlage®, SimonsVoss® and Von Duprin®. Focusing on security around the door and adjacent areas, Allegion produces a range of solutions for homes, businesses, schools and other institutions. Allegion is a $2 billion company, with products sold in almost 130 countries.

For more, visit www.allegion.com.


SimonsVoss Technologies AG

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Tel. +49 (0)89 - 99 22 8 - 0

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