Published: 20/12/2013 12:00 - Updated: 19/12/2013 17:41

Moray Friends unwrap ward's new look

A MAJOR milestone in the treatment of sick children in Moray has been unwrapped for Christmas.

The £100,000 appeal to transform the children’s ward at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin has revealed the first images of how the refurbished ward will look.

The Moray Friends of ARCHIE campaign is close to the target set by the group two years ago, and earlier this month broke through the £95,000 mark.

And with the appeal set to be the main beneficiary of the Burghead Boxing Day Swim, the £100,000 target could be smashed by the end of the year.

Artist’s impressions of how the ward will look following the revamp have given local campaigners, parents and the nursing team on the ward a massive boost.

The aim is to transform it into a modern, fun and relaxing environment for young patients of all ages and their families at what can be a stressful time in their lives.

The Moray Friends group launched its appeal in November, 2011, with the aim of enhancing the service provided locally and securing the future of the ward with the refurbishment.

Irma Westwood, a parent and volunteer member of Moray Friends of ARCHIE, said: “After two years of hard work and terrific support from the people of Moray, we are delighted to reveal artist impressions of how a revamped children’s ward will look.

“The appeal has really captured the imagination of people locally, and to be so close to our target is exciting for everybody involved in the project.

“In the next few months, the final plans for the project will be finalised, and we hope to host a celebration event at Dr Gray’s for all those in the community who have supported us.

“We hope that by the end of this appeal, Moray will have an even better children’s ward which everybody can be proud of and will further enhance the care of sick children and provide added support to their parents.

“We have to say a big ‘thank you’ to everybody who has backed the appeal and come up with imaginative ways to raise money. This is a great boost just before Christmas.”

David Tipping, director of projects with ARCHIE, said the ward will undergo a complete transformation.

This will include:

An exciting new look to the entrance to the ward, which also connects to the children’s outpatient department and the maternity unit.

A revamp of the main ward corridor which leads to the nurses’ station.

A new family room for parents and carers to relax and relieve stress.

The replacement of existing dated duvets and curtains with new ones in bold modern colours.

NHS furniture replaced by modern designs used in some of the latest state-of-the-art TCT (Teenage Cancer Trust) units.

Privacy curtains will go and in their place, full digitally printed enhanced scenes of local interest will provide distraction during minor procedures and as an activity device for play staff at the unit to interact with the children.

Digitally printed materials will also be used in the shower areas to create stunning imagery, for example the illusion of being underneath a waterfall, to transform what can be a daunting experience into a fun prospect.

David said the existing play room on the ward is also very dated and does not accommodate the recent increase in the age range of children visiting the ward.

The play area, which is an important part of the recovery process, will also undergo a transformation.

David added: “The existing carpet will be replaced by a stunning printed vinyl A-Z map of Elgin. Children will be able to find their school and point out to mum and dad where they want to go once they get out.

“A reading corner with bright coloured bean bags, a comfy sofa, a massive interactive TV with the latest content, and tables and chairs for arts and crafts will also be provided.”

At evenings and weekends, the giant TV will become a cinema where the children can catch up on the latest blockbuster movies and aklso enjoy streamed content such as live panto performances and school events.

For teenagers there will be a breakfast bar area with tablets and laptops and an entire ‘whiteboard’ wall which they can draw on.

“We will also be providing the latest consoles and games, so that when the younger children are in bed, they can stay up and play games on the giant TV.”

Matt Jobson, the senior nurse in charge of the children’s ward, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for Ward 2, our patients and their families.

“The generosity of the public and the hard work of the Moray Friends of Archie will enable us to work together to provide a vibrant and exciting environment for the children and young people needing care in Dr Gray’s Hospital.”

Matt added: “The images look amazing, and we look forward to working with Archie over the coming months to transform this concept into a reality”.

The ARCHIE Foundation is the official charity of the children’s wards at Dr Gray’s, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness and Aberdeen Royal Children’s Hospital, and other child health medicine services.

The Moray Friends group was established in 2009 to enhance the facilities locally, and its first project was a refurbishment of the children’s waiting area in G-Meds at Dr Gray’s.

David Cunningham, chief executive of the ARCHIE Foundation, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see this exciting and important project getting underway for the children of Moray.

“It’s great to see these initial impressions, and work will now move forward early in 2014 to take the designs forward, in partnership with the NHS and our Friends Group in Moray, to a final design stage.

“With a final push on fund-raising, there is no reason why we can’t see this project delivered in 2014, and that would be an excellent result for the families and children who will use this space.”

The Burghead Boxing Day Swim will support not only the Moray Friends of ARCHIE appeal but the work of cancer charity CLAN in Moray and Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre in Inverness.

The event is heading for a record number of entries, with more than 200 swimmers expected to take part, and volunteers can still sign up online at www.burgheadboxingdayswim.co.uk

Russell Main, one of the founding organisers of the swim, said he was overwhelmed by the response to the event. His daughter, Abbie, is currently undergoing cancer treatment at Yorkhill in Glasgow, and Russell will have a special ‘thank you’ banner from Abbie to unveil at the swim.

The ARCHIE Foundation’s ‘Beards for Bairns’ challenge, from Christmas Day to Burns Night on January 25, will also be supporting the local appeal by encouraging Moray men to take part. People can sign up online at www.archiefoundation.org.uk/events

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