We’re lucky enough at Grosvenor to deal with the most wonderful people – we meet the loveliest people from hospitals and hospital charities on a daily basis

And when those delightful people ask for our help in improving their surroundings, we thoroughly enjoy coming up with designs that put a massive smile on their faces.

We caught up recently with Georgie Westley, Fundraising Manager for Well Wishes Charity and Emma Lester, Play Facilitator at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, soon after the official opening of the new playroom in the Paediatric Unit on the children’s ward, which we designed and installed for them.

Emma told us the old room had white walls with red cupboard doors.  The floor was beige and the area wasn’t child friendly.  The room was very old fashioned: it may have been fit for purpose 20 years ago but certainly wasn’t suitable for children.  It was old and tatty and the toys weren’t very exciting.  “It closed down during covid and after that, we decided that we needed to inject something back onto the ward so myself and the previous Play Specialist, Samantha Deane, drew up some actions and went to Georgie and it all stemmed from there”.

Georgie continued: “After Emma and Sam approached me, we got permission from their manager who asked if there was any way we could fund through the charity.  So we started an appeal.  We wanted to find a company that specialises in doing work in hospitals because it’s quite a niche area so Sam asked for recommendations from other Play Specialists and Grosvenor were recommended to her. We then had an initial meeting with Colin, Debbie and Victoria, told them what we were looking for and they came back with some designs and talked us through them”.

‘We didn’t need a site visit because the room is very square so we just sent them the dimensions”.

Ward 21 Playing opening with the Mayor of Walsall

Ward 21 Playing opening with the Mayor of Walsall and Mascot     Ward 21 Play room opening with the Mayor of Walsall and Humphrey the bear mascot

Georgie talked us through her recollection of what happened from there:  “ I would say it was ordered in about 3 months – it may have been longer but felt quick.  Every time we met with Grosvenor, they took our ideas on board.  We have a charity bear mascot called Humphrey and we said it would be really nice if we could incorporate Humphrey somewhere in the design.  Victoria met with us and we’re absolutely blown away with what she came up with.  I’ve done a number of appeals here and it was probably one of my most exciting appeals because they just ran with whatever we asked them.  And Humphrey, how he’s featured through the appeal, right through the design, is wonderful.

Rainbow design wall art at Walsall Hospital Ward 21 Playroom

We asked Victoria if there was any way we could have a game on one wall, find Humphrey.  Victoria not only agreed but included several Humphreys.  So, on the big wall, there’s Humphrey in a shop, in a balloon, in a house and even in a tree.  When the children go in there now they can literally see a sign that says find the Humphreys and they can play the game and find all the Humphreys which is fantastic”.

Both Georgie and Emma were delighted with the finished result, agreeing that it “more than achieved what it set out to do”.  They felt the wall art in the new room really did make it special and because there were different themes to the room, at Grosvenor’s suggestion, there are different play areas including a market and a wet area.  “The wet area is like a sea and under the sea we’ve got Humphrey with a snorkelling mask on, swimming amongst the fish and scenery: it’s beautiful, it really is”.

Mayor of Walsall Opening at Walsall Hospital

Georgie talked us through the fundraising appeal:  “The new playroom was officially opened by the Mayor of Walsall and we invited the main donors along, those who had put the most donations in.  We also approached a number of the larger organisations and offered them, in return for their funding , the chance to advertise their companies on the market stalls.  We ended up with four businesses within the design on the market stalls and those businesses put in a good majority of the money to help us reach the appeal target.

Wall Glamour ribbon design applied to cupboard doors at Walsall Hospital

Child having fun playing games in the Play Room at Walsall Hospital

A couple of guys did a 24 hour cardio marathon and raised just over £3000 and there was a local solicitor who gave us £5000.  Local business people Harjit and Jodie, who have always been very supportive to the charity, also put a lump sum of money in”. Emma talked us through reaction to the new room: “The project has given staff a real boost.  They were on board with it all along: they were very excited and couldn’t wait to use the new space but we told them you can’t use it until the official opening!  On the morning of the opening, one little girl woke at 5.30am and wanted to go in the playroom.  She was so excited.  Her mum told us she drove her mad because it wasn’t opening until 10am.  After the official opening, mum couldn’t keep her out of there.

Balloon fun at Walsall Hospital Play Room following Grosvenor Interiors transformation of the area

Sailing the seas Wall Glamour art produced by Grosvenor Interiors

Patients have been thrilled with the new room.  One child wanted their bedroom at home to be like the water area.  The parent even asked about how they could go about having the same artwork installed and asked who she could speak to in order to get a quote.  Another parent mentioned how colourful the room is and that their child turned round and said they didn’t want to go home: they wanted to stay and play there.

I’ve had a load of parents commenting how amazing it looks: the minute you walk into the room you’re smiling.

If you’re not very well, it’s not a sterile environment: it’s joyful.  And all our patients have been enjoying looking for Humphrey the bear as well, which has been a great distraction for them, especially if they’re waiting to go to surgery.  They find Humphrey while they’re waiting and it’s been a great help.

     NHS Nurse support at Walsall Hospital accompanied by Humphrey the bear Mascot

On top of that, there’s been some extra work: we’ve recently had a big new emergency care centre built and because it’s all very new, it looks very stark. Additionally, the waiting room for the paediatric assessment unit was very sterile so we literally went to Colin and the team and asked what can you do while you’re in there?  This is the size of the room.  How much will it cost?  And they did another massive Find Humphrey wall piece in the emergency care centre and also in the waiting room.  These have made a real difference in those areas”.

Georgie and Emma concluded:  “It was the design team that made all the suggestions for the scheme –  they suggested the toys that they thought should be in the room, how the walls would fit in with the floor.  Literally the only actual brief we gave was, can you incorporate Humphrey?  Everything else was what the team at Grosvenor thought would look good.  They ran with the brief of including Humphrey.  We just smiled and said “That’s perfect!!”

Grosvenor were fantastic to work with.  Colin recently did a talk to several other charities and showed off our playroom during that talk, which was lovely.  We’ve formed a really good relationship between us all.  And Colin fed back to us that his team found us fantastic to work with as well and that it was a pleasure to be involved.

We certainly recommend Grosvenor.  We’re looking at getting some other areas done and will definitely use them.  We think the finished result is absolutely fantastic.

What a difference it can make to an area, improving the patient experience.   The charity raises funds specifically to enhance the patient experience and that’s exactly what we’ve done with this project: it hit the charity’s briefing on the head.  You absolutely know what the charity stands for, our aims and objectives”.


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