Ward transformed thanks to help of local businesses

Posted: 11/09/20

Staff and service users have found an innovative way to make the most of the recent sunshine.

Willow View at St Nicholas Hospital in Gosforth may not be close to the coast but now, thanks to donations from businesses including DMG Electrical services, Northern Bear and Asda, the ward has its own beach.

Part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), Willow View is a rehabilitation and recovery ward providing a safe, therapeutic environment to help people rebuild living skills. The service is for men and women with serious mental illness and complex needs who require intensive short to medium term rehabilitation.

Two years in the making, the ward has transformed what was once a yard area into a beach complete with pebbles, sand pit, umbrellas and deckchairs. With the help of staff and service users, the beach has been painted to look like an old-fashioned seaside scene.

Lynne Doyle, Occupational Therapy Assistant Practitioner at CNTW, said: “The beach area is proving to have a beneficial effect on the mental wellbeing of our service users. We hope that the old age wisdom that being near the seaside is good for your health will ring true!

“We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped bring our vision to life. Our service users have complex needs, life isn’t always easy for them, so to have something like this where people can take time to relax means so much.”

The area has proven to be the perfect place for practicing mindfulness, catching up with a good book or simply feeling the sand between your toes. One service user said: “It’s a very relaxing area and a nice space to chill out.”

Another said their favourite part was the deckchair, where they are able while away a few hours.

One service user, who has a degree in Fine Art, helped to design the space and started the painting of the surrounding fence.

Occupational therapist Lynne has been running painting sessions with other patients to paint the pebbles and decorate shells. There’s even fairy lights for those who might want to take a break there in the evening.

Some of the items donated have come from the ward’s own charitable fund. Find out more about charitable funds here.

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) is a leading provider of mental health and disability services across the North East and north Cumbria.