Meet the children shaping the future of Leeds Children’s Hospital
3 February 2022
Children and young people feedback on the new hospital designs
Brothers Sonny (6) and Rufus Marshall (4) from Morley, Leeds are just two of the young budding architects helping to shape the future of the city’s new Children’s Hospital due to be built at the site of Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).
They joined 12 other children from across Leeds and further afield, reflecting the national reach of the Leeds Children’s Hospital services, for the first in a series of virtual workshops on the new hospital design.
The children, aged between four and 17 years old, joined Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s design team to discuss how the new Children’s Hospital should look and feel once you are inside the building. These ‘design champions’ shared thoughts, based on their lived experience of being in hospital to ensure that the design would make children and young people more comfortable even when they are outside their comfort zone.
The workshop generated lots of ideas about how the children would want to use the space, what they liked about the new designs and what they would like to see in the new hospital.
Their feedback ranged from ways to personalise each bed space by incorporating lots of plants, art and pictures, to more inventive ideas such as telescopes for stargazing and a performance space for live music.
The older children highlighted the importance of having their own area to relax or play computer games and including furniture that was appropriate for all ages.
Local Leeds artist Tom Bailey joined the virtual workshop, sketching, taking notes, and building a visual account of the discussion.
Sonny said: “It was so much fun sharing ideas with everyone. We used an app called Mural, which was a bit like sticky notes and it was awesome to see Tom draw all the pictures.”
Lisa Beaumont, Therapeutic and Specialised Play Manager for Leeds Children’s Hospital, was part of the Trust’s team hosting the virtual workshop, and said: “We are hugely grateful to the children and young people for all their ideas and enthusiasm so far. It’s important to us that we build the best hospital to meet children and young people’s needs, so it’s vital we talk to the people that will use it at every stage of the process.”
The design for the new Leeds Children’s Hospital has been developed by architects Perkins&Will, led by Penoyre & Prasad with Schmidt Hammer Lassen Archtects, and brings together clinical services for children and young people under one roof for the first time. It is part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals’ NHS Trust’s exciting and ambitious plans to build two new state-of-the-art hospitals on the site of the LGI. The new building will house two unique hospitals — one for adults and one for children — including a centralised maternity and neonatal unit.
This week, the Trust officially confirmed Perkins&Will as the architect for the project by signing the contract.
Sunand Prasad, Principal at Perkins&Will and lead architect for Leeds Children’s Hospital, said: “Patients require care that is continuous from birth to adulthood so it’s essential that we create a new hospital that is welcoming and inclusive to all. We are at a crucial stage in the design process so I was delighted to hear views from the children directly and I look forward to collaborating with them to ensure that this hospital is not only designed for them, but by them too.”
The start of the patient engagement workshops marks an exciting and significant move forward with the designs to create the new state-of-the-art hospitals that will be a centre of care for children and adults from across the region and beyond.