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New specialist facility opens at Sheffield Children’s

Safeguarding Unit waiting room
20 January 2020

A new £1m state-of-the-art facility has opened in Sheffield Children’s Hospital, complete with innovative and interactive artwork.

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 Sheffield Children’s since 2013, is now in its brand-new space, complete with bigger rooms, specialist artwork and unique space for play.

The specialist facility has been sensitively developed as it supports children and young people where there have been safeguarding concerns. This includes patients with potential neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse, where specialist children’s doctors are required.Safeguarding support unit

The unit, run by Sheffield Children’s, is funded by NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings and NHS England. The Children’s Hospital Charity, supporting Sheffield Children’s, has refreshed the unit thanks to funds from a variety of community and corporate sponsors, including Westfield Health.

The design of the space was commissioned by Artfelt, The Children’s Hospital Charity arts programme. The design was carefully considered in order to provide the best possible facility for assessment and to support patients and their families.

Artfelt worked with staff in the unit and psychologists to create a unique space which is designed to feel welcoming, neutral and safe. As well as play equipment for all ages, it also has innovative digital art pieces for children during their visit.

A large interactive light wall in the main waiting room was produced by digital arts studio Megaverse to encourage play, to provide distraction and relax patients and families. The wall allows anyone who uses it to colour-in the digital wall together using only touch, with Signify supporting the project by providing all the Phillips Hue smart lights free of charge.

Whilst 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’ by patients, creating distraction and an instant sense of achievement.

The digital installations are complemented by colourful artwork which now adorns the windows, flooring and ceiling in the new unit. Each piece has been made to appeal to all ages whilst simultaneously softening the space, so it feels less clinical.

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. Our beautiful new unit supports our message that you are valued and welcome here.

“We have some fantastic interactive panels commissioned by Artfelt that will keep our visitors entertained, calm and distracted when necessary so they can fully engage with the assessments required. We want children to be able to return to us as and when required for their ongoing care, with no fear or anxiety.

“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.”

Jade Richardson, Arts and Digital Commissioner at Artfelt added: “Our aim was to bring together art and technology that improves the experience of patients by understanding the complex requirements needed in this area. It was a pleasure to collaborate with the staff on improving the environment and facilities they have for delivering the great work they do.”

Westfield Health Chairman, Graham Moore added: “We’re incredibly proud to be able to support the Safeguarding Support Unit and the work they do to support children and young people in the region. It is vital to making sure young people across Yorkshire have access to care they need at the time they may need it most.”

Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Tim Forber from South Yorkshire Police, said: “The contribution of the Safeguarding Support Unit to protecting, supporting and improving the lives of the children of South Yorkshire cannot be overstated.  The dedicated, sensitive and hard-working staff see our most vulnerable children at a point of crisis in their lives.  Not only that, they then ensure that everything possible is done to secure their health and well-being, giving them a better future.   The expertise, care and resources  invested in the development of the new Safeguarding Support Unit are second to none and South Yorkshire Police are extremely proud of our partnership with them.”

To find out more about The Children’s Hospital Charity’s work redeveloping Sheffield Children’s Hospital, visit

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