Cotswold Clinic courtyard renovation

Friday, 14 June 2013

On June 10, a newly-refurbished courtyard garden within Maternity Services at North Bristol NHS Trust was unveiled.

Since September last year, Bristol artist Pete Moorhouse has been working with local schools to refurbish what was a much neglected corner of the Southmead Hospital site. 

Pete and Fresh Arts (the Trust’s on-going arts programme) worked with staff in Cotswold Clinic to design a space that could be used and enjoyed by both patients and staff, upgrading some of the Trust’s existing estate and providing a vital additional waiting area for a very busy clinic spot. 

Ruth Sidgwick, Arts Programme Manager, said: “Fresh Arts had some ambitious aims for the project and, with Pete leading the design process, running workshops and making sculptures, it’s been possible to fulfil all of them.”

The aims of the project included:

To create a space that is beautiful, elevating the soul and uplifting spirits; the space must work as a courtyard that people can enjoy not only by being in it but also by improving the many views out into the courtyard from all sides, including a view immediately as people enter the clinic

  • To create additional waiting area and seating for staff during breaks
  • To enhance the retained estate at the Southmead site as Maternity Services won’t be moving to the new hospital building
  • To create a calm, relaxing and peaceful space that puts people at ease
  • To include artworks that will have positive impact on wellbeing
  • To improve staff morale by providing both a space staff can enjoy and of which they can be proud
  • To create links between the hospital and local schools and a nursery through the creation of artwork
  • To create a bespoke space that is an example of good practice.

An important part of the project has been seeking the views of local children to include their ideas and designs in making artwork for the courtyard garden.

Pete worked with over 150 pupils, by providing workshops to gather designs for the various artworks. The schools involved were Ashley Down Primary School, Colstons Girls School, Hanham High School, Filton Avenue Nursery School and Children’s Centre and The Orchard School.

Pete commented: “I was very keen to create a space that would be uplifting and relaxing for patients. I was keen that there be a variety of different artworks - hopefully something for everyone to enjoy.

“I wanted to create a space that would transport us to another place, transcending the everyday, a distraction from pressing concerns and worries –even if only for a moment. I was very keen to involve pupils in the project giving them an opportunity to contribute in meaningful way. I was very impressing by their design ideas and also by their sensitivity and concern to make the artworks calm, elevating and engaging for patients.”

Cellina Peedoly, teacher at Ashley Down Primary School, said:  “I've shown the children the photos of their work installed in the courtyard. There was a big "whooooooooooaaa!" when they saw the “after” photos! 

“The children really enjoyed being involved in the project because it was fun and they liked being able to change their minds about their evolving designs. They also said it gave them a nice feeling knowing that they are making a contribution and that it would be appreciated by patients and staff. They liked the idea that they were improving a dull place using ideas that they had developed.”

Pete Moorhouse is a professional sculptor and artist educator. He exhibits work nationally and has work in several collections both in the UK and overseas