Sheffield Children’s Hospital uses art to help vulnerable youngsters feel safe

A new £1 million facility for vulnerable young people has opened in Sheffield Children’s Hospital, complete with innovative and interactive artwork.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 8:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 4:27 pm

The hospital’s newly-developed Safeguarding Support Unit opened to patients in December after 18 months of design and building work. The new space has been funded entirely by The Children’s Hospital Charity.

The service, which has been at the hospital since 2013, is now in its brand-new space, complete with bigger rooms, specialist artwork and unique space for play.

The specialist facility supports children and young people where there have been safeguarding concerns.

Interactive digital wall art at the new unit at Sheffield Children's Hospital
Interactive digital wall art at the new unit at Sheffield Children's Hospital

This includes patients with potential neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse, where specialist children’s doctors are required.

The design was commissioned by Artfelt, the charity’s arts programme, to provide the best possible facility for assessment and to support patients and families.

Artfelt worked with staff in the unit and psychologists to create a unique space which is designed to feel welcoming, neutral and safe.

An interactive light wall in the main waiting room was produced by digital arts studio Megaverse to encourage play, provide distraction and relax patients and families.

The wall allows anyone who uses it to colour in the digital wall using only touch. Supplier Signify supported the project by providing free Phillips Hue smart lights.

Inside the assessment and treatment rooms, a mesmerising ceiling sees bubbles move around and bounce off inanimate objects. These can be played with and ‘popped’.

The digital installations are complemented by colourful artwork on the windows, flooring and ceiling.

Dr Anna Ramsbottom, consultant paediatrician and designated doctor for safeguarding, said: “The artworks and furnishings have been specifically chosen to appeal to all age groups, abilities, cultures and genders, to not exclude anyone in need of care and support.

“Thank you to NHS England, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office and NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, as well as The Children’s Hospital Charity and sponsors including Artfelt for making this happen.”