Young patients in touch with nature

Forth Valley Royal Children Ward - Watch the Birdie
Forth Valley Royal Children Ward - Watch the Birdie

The children’s ward at Forth Valley Royal Hospital has a new look – thanks to a make-over emulating the natural world outside the building.

It includes bird boxes for children to peer into and the chance to spot hidden nests in corridors en route to theatre.

The make-over was a creative collaboration between visual artist Sharon Quigley and designer Andrew McGregor.

Together, they sounded out dozens of young patients and their families, as well as staff, to find out how they would like to see the ward transformed.

Gone are the Peppa Pigs, Thomas the Tank Engine and Hello Kitty stickers.

And in their place is colourful imagery drawn directly from the woodland surrounding the hospital.

It features clouds, leaves and the sound of birdsong, a combination of real birds tweeting and children playing.

For seven-year-old Rocco Falcone the lure of this bird box was too good to miss.

He said: “It looks like chocolate eggs inside – it’s really cool!”

Artist Sharon Quigley said the new designs, which cover walls and doorways, were going down a storm. She said: “We’ve seen kids run out of the lift and they say ‘wow, we want that in our bedroom.’ To see a reaction like that is great.

“They particularly love the bird boxes and are fascinated by the tweeting.

“We just wanted to make the ward a better place to get well in and for people to visit.”

NHS Forth Valley charitable arts and well-being co-
ordinator Babs McCool added: “This is the first of a series of commissions in Forth Valley Royal Hospital, funded by endowments – the charitable arm of NHS Forth Valley.

“Whenever anyone from another department sees this work it inspires them to think about their own ward areas – my phone has been constantly ringing!”

The project has taken 18 months from initial conception, which included taking soundings from staff, patients and their families.