Whittington Health opens a new Rainbow Garden play area for children
30 Jan 2020
Whittington Health NHS Trust’s new play area will benefit over 2,000 children per year who are receiving treatment at the hospital.
Whittington Health NHS Trust’s has received over £250k in charitable donations to transform its previous outdoor play area for children into a new ‘Rainbow Garden’ following a successful fundraising campaign with donations raised through Whittington Health Charitable Funds. This included over £20k donated by fans of local BAFTA and Golden Globe winning actor Benedict Cumberbatch CBE who encouraged his millions of adoring fans to donate to the appeal to help him celebrate his birthday.
The new space will provide young patients with a bright enjoyable escape to use whilst in hospital, but also has wider health benefits to aid recovery through play. Whittington Health worked collaboratively with The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children as well as playscape specialist, Timotay, to design the new accessible space.
Play is an important aspect of a child’s treatment plan and physical activities can accelerate recovery and improve physical and mental wellbeing. The new play area has been designed to encourage play and will be available for all children to enjoy regardless of how long their treatment is anticipated to last. The overall look and feel of the play area was designed in collaboration with Bright Horizons as well as Whittington’s paediatric team and patients. The design of the Rainbow Garden includes new decking areas, colourful rainbow canopies, a bespoke London cityscape construction area, chalkboards and tactile panels. The ward’s rabbits, which are used to reduce children’s anxiety, will also be welcome and will have their own hutch.
Whittington Health’s Consultant Paediatrician, Kerry Robinson, was integral to the design and execution of the play garden and commented; “We are absolutely delighted to have raised the funds to redevelop our play terrace, an area where we can engage our young patients in play therapy. Play completely changes a child’s hospital experience. If a sick child is kept active, there is a much higher chance of a faster recovery. For children who are frequent attenders to the hospital, the focus on ‘play’ changes their experience entirely to one not of fear, but of fun. The new play terrace is hugely important to the children’s ward, and its redevelopment is an exciting opportunity to maintain and expand the high quality of our care we provide.”
James Tugendhat, Director and Trustee of The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, said, “We are thrilled to be here at the opening of the Rainbow Garden, having been involved since the very beginning. We are proud of the considerable efforts made by our Foundation team, fundraisers, supporters and volunteers who helped make this day possible; and hope that it will make a real difference to the children and families cared for by the wonderful team here at the Whittington hospital”.
The Rainbow Garden was opened at a celebratory event on Thursday 30 January 2020 at the Whittington hospital, and is located next to the Ifor ward.