Woodlands Hospice recently opened their brand new space for Children and Young People, affectionately titled “Our Space”. The Pavilion has been designed for the children and young people who are accessing our support services to have their own area to go to within the Hospice, where they can relax, talk to our family support team and express themselves whilst dealing with difficult situations or emotions.
The project has largely been a community one, with many local funders, architects and contractors working with the Hospice to bring the idea of the space to life.
One such member of the community who has had significant involvement is local artist, Victoria Wall. Victoria initially came on board the project with the idea of creating a mural inside the Pavilion, with the children and young people who will be using the space. However, after working closely with the young people, and seeing how the project was developing, Victoria and the children, who have all had significant input to the project from the beginning, felt that this would not suit the space or its purpose.
Victoria explained, “We had lots of discussions about what would go well in the space and felt that a mural was too fixed. We wanted to create something that the young people felt connected too that wouldn’t make any one new entering the space feel unwelcome or out of place. So we came up with the idea of creating the embroidery hoops. Each child could design and create their own hoop which has special significance to them. They are easy to put up within the space and change as time goes on, meaning it can be an ongoing project that any child or young person accessing the space can continue to contribute too.”
Victoria also went on to explain how the artwork has been designed to appeal to everyone accessing the space.
“Each young person will be experiencing different levels of upset or grief, depending on their personal situation so we wanted to create artwork for comfort, rather than remembrance. It also has to appeal to the different age groups using the space; therefore the embroidery hoops were an ideal solution as we use natural themes and materials which a 6 year old can have as much input into as a 15 year old. It has worked really well and some of the pieces the young people have developed are lovely.”
Victoria has been volunteering her time during evenings and weekends and has worked with 15-16 young people on the project so far alongside the Hospice’s family support team. Victoria said, “It’s good to see the level of support the children and young people have here at Woodlands. Although our sessions are relaxed and I’ve found them to be a good outlet for the children I’ve worked with, there are times when they understandably feel upset or overwhelmed but Elaine and Jan from the Family Support Team are always on hand and they’re just fantastic.”
Indira Johnson has been accessing our family support services following the loss of her Father and Grandfather. The 14 year-old has created her own embroidery hoop as part of the project with Victoria and said she found the experience to be comforting. Indira’s design features a Blue Horse which she created in honour of her love of horseriding and the first horse she ever rode which had the name ‘Blue’.
She said, “Horseriding is my passion and when I am on my horse, I feel a real connection to my Dad. It’s a lovely feeling to have that come back so it is really personal to me and will be lovely to see it every time I use the space. I think the Pavilion is such a good idea as I think it’s really important that young people have a place they can come to and deal with their emotions away from their loved ones if they need it.”