August 2017


August news 

31.08.17: New creative course will help patients become more confident in creating art 

IMG 2258 croppedPatients are invited to take part in a free six-month course to develop their artistic skills and learn more about the art on display at the Trust.

 The Art and Wellbeing Course, organised by Imperial Health Charity, features a variety of workshops, designed to help patients feel more confident in creating art and enhance their wellbeing and recovery.

 The charity’s extensive art collection, including works by Fay Ballard and Clare Woods, will be used as a springboard to inspire creativity as participants try their hand at watercolour painting, still life drawing, and more.

 The course is open to patients of all abilities and the charity is asking Trust staff to recommend it to anyone they feel might be interested.

 Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at the charity, said: “We’re delighted to offer this opportunity to patients. The charity is a firm believer in the way that art can transform hospital spaces and how creativity can greatly enhance patients’ recovery.”

 “We often hear first-hand from staff and patients just how much of an impact art can have and this course is something that we’re extremely passionate about.”

 Last month, a cross-party report concluded that arts-based approaches can help people stay well, recover faster, manage long-term conditions, and experience a better quality of life.

 The charity is proud to support the arts in healthcare and works hard to improve patients’ hospital experience through an extensive programme including creative workshops for patients undergoing dialysis and multisensory experiences for those living with dementia.

 The course takes place from 2-5pm on the first Saturday of each month from September onwards. Workshops will be held at Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s Hospitals. Anyone interested in joining should contact the charity’s Arts team by emailing or phoning 020 3857 9843.

30.08.17: Fran Giffard's art brightens up new children's unit

IMG 8564Artwork by Fran Giffard has been installed in a new children’s unit in the St Mary’s A&E department, which opened this week.

 Giffard’s colourful prints and light boxes, now adorn the children’s Clinical Decision Unit at the hospital. The four-bed unit provides dedicated facilities for children who need further assessment and was created as part of a charity-funded £3.5m upgrade for the A&E department.

 The artwork, featuring vivid drawings of birds from around the world drawn over her personal diary pages, helps transform the feel of the department and offers children something to focus on in what can be a very distressing time.

 “I’ve tried to cater for the patients in the room”, said Giffard. “There are colourful, friendly birds, birds that they’ll recognise like parrots and penguins and the diary pages reference London landmarks.”

 “The nurses said it was useful to have these as a visual distraction so if they’re giving injections or taking blood they can ask ‘how many penguins can you see?’ and that way the patient is entertained in the middle of a stressful situation.”

 The charity is a keen advocate of art in hospitals and manages a collection of over 2,000 art works at the five Trust hospitals. A 2014 survey carried out by the charity revealed that 69% of patients credited the art collection with making them feel more relaxed in the hospital environment, something that the arts programme is constantly building on.IMG 8572

 Giffard said: “We’re getting very good at fixing the physical parts of the body but we’re still only tapping the briefest part of the mind and how things can have an impact later on. Having artwork in places like this makes it more relaxing, less clinical, and less intimidating.”

 Giffard studied Fine Art Drawing at Camberwell College of Art and has had her work exhibited internationally and throughout the UK. She was shortlisted for the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year and has displayed her work at several solo exhibitions, including the Northcote Gallery in Chelsea and the Someth1ng Gallery in Honor Oak.

 You can find out more about her work on her website.

29.08.17: Imperial Health Charity named official charity partner for Affordable Art Fair

AAF3Imperial Health Charity has been selected as the official charity partner for one of London’s biggest art fairs.

 The Affordable Art Fair, which takes place at Battersea Evolution in October, will provide a unique platform for the charity to demonstrate how the arts can make a difference in the healthcare environment.

 With a diverse collection of original and contemporary paintings, prints, photography and sculpture, the fair is expected to attract thousands of visitors over four days.

 But art fans who buy a ticket for the Charity Private View on Wednesday October 18 will have the first chance to see and buy artworks featured at the fair.

 All the money raised from tickets sold for the Private View will go straight back to the charity, supporting our arts engagement programme for patients and staff across the Trust.

 Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at Imperial Health Charity, said: “We aim to change the way patients and NHS staff experience the hospital environment, by transforming clinical settings into bright and uplifting areas and engaging with patients at the bedside and in communal groups to enhance their recovery.

 “This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our work on the big stage and help others understand the value of the arts in improving the hospital experience for patients.

 “You can support the arts in healthcare and boost our engagement programme by buying a ticket for the Charity Private View and enjoying the live entertainment on offer.”

 More than 100 artists – from household names to emerging talents - are due to exhibit their work at the fair.

 Bringing thousands of artworks together with talks, tours and workshops all under one roof, the fair will be the place to be for art enthusiasts this autumn.

 Imperial Health Charity will be at the heart of the fair throughout the week, hosting live demonstrations of our hospital workshops and an ‘in conversation’ talk with Professor Roger Kneebone, from Imperial College London,  and artist Rebecca Salter, on the link between art and medicine.

We will also be selling unique tote bags featuring original artworks by David Shrigley, with proceeds going straight back to the charity.

 You can support the charity’s work by buying a ticket for the Charity Private View on Wednesday October 18 from 5.30pm. The £25 ticket price includes a first look at all the artworks, live entertainment, complimentary drinks and readmission to the fair for the rest of the week (October 19-22).

 For more information and to buy tickets, visit To find out more about the event, visit

07.08.17: Charity celebrates 30th annivesary of Bridget Riley murals at St Mary's

BR SM 9 0015Imperial Health Charity is celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of its most iconic hospital artworks.

 This year marks three decades since Bridget Riley’s colourful murals were installed on the eighth and ninth floors of the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother building (QEQM) at St Mary’s Hospital.

Unveiled back in 1987, the striking patterns are among the most memorable in the charity’s collection and continue to delight visitors today.

 Riley, now in her 80s, was commissioned by the architect John Weeks to create the two murals on the eighth and ninth floors. A third mural was created on the 10th floor in 2014.

 The unique patterns take inspiration from a visit Riley made to Egypt in the early 1980s, echoing the fixed colour palettes and decorative style of architectural painting used by the Ancient Egyptians.

 Reflecting on the designs, Riley described how painting for decoration requires a more passive rhythm and arrangement of colour lines as the viewer absorbs the image while walking past, rather than looking directly at a canvas.

 Speaking at the unveiling of the third mural in 2014, she said: “The hospital corridor paintings embrace the whole space. They aim to lift the spirits and remind one of the life outside the hospital, while in no way interfering with the essential activities which must go on. Wonderful murals transform environments into uplifting places for patients and staff.”

 In the 30 years since the murals were unveiled, feedback from patients and staff has been overwhelmingly positive. The bright colours have brought to life what were once pale and clinical hospital corridors.

 Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at Imperial Health Charity, said: “The murals are without doubt one of the highlights of the collection. The staff at QEQM love them and we’re often asked by other teams if they can have something similar on their ward.

 “The striking patterns have totally transformed the space and made it feel a lot less clinical – and this has had a genuine impact on patients’ wellbeing during their time in hospital.

 “We will always be grateful to Bridget for her generosity in creating these artworks for us. They continue to delight and inspire visitors to the hospital every day.”

 To mark the anniversary, the charity is working with the Chelsea Community Hospital School to run a special creative workshop for children at St Mary’s on Thursday (10 August).

 Young patients will be given the chance to create their own artworks, inspired by Riley’s murals, using strips of coloured paper.

 The school provides education for children and young people aged between four and 18 while they are in hospital. St Mary’s is one of four London hospitals the school works with to offer classes on a weekly basis.

03.08.17: 'Superhero' six-year-old to run with Paralympic heroes for hospital that saved his life

IMG 8181A six-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who survived after suffering several neonatal strokes is to line up for a unique sporting challenge alongside one of Britain’s top Paralympians.

 “Superhero” Arlo Elwin will team up with athlete and cyclist Kadeena Cox to complete the final leg of a special triathlon event celebrating disability sports.

 Little Arlo was born by emergency caesarean at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital in west London after suffering several strokes inside his mother’s womb.

 He was resuscitated by doctors and spent 11 days in intensive care before his condition stabilised and he could be reunited with his family.

 Arlo now lives with cerebral palsy, limited vision and learning difficulties but is able to lead an otherwise normal life.

 Next month he will sprint to the finish line for Team Kadeena at the Superhero Tri event at Dorney Lake, near Windsor.

 The Elwins, who live in Hoxton, are raising money for Imperial Health Charity, which supports the work of the neonatal unit at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, as well as the four other hospitals of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. All the money they raise will go straight back to the neonatal unit that cared for Arlo.

 Alice Elwin, Arlo’s mother, said: “Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea is the reason Arlo is still here today and doing so well.

 “He spent 11 days on drugs and it was touch and go whether or not he would survive. He looked pretty lifeless and I wasn’t able to hold him for four days while he was being cooled.

 “We were like zombies at the time and it was truly heartbreaking and awful to go through, but the care was amazing. The NHS is simply incredible and we can never put into words our appreciation for the care we received.”

 During a routine appointment, Alice told doctors she had felt Arlo moving less than normal. Specialists found that Arlo’s heart rate was “distressed” and decided to perform an emergency caesarean.

 Arlo suffered seizures three hours after birth and it was later discovered that he had also had strokes days before he was born.

 He spent his first 11 days at the Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea neonatal unit before being moved to Homerton Hospital at the end of the month.

 Despite his difficult start in life, the “cheeky” six-year-old has benefited from physiotherapy and other NHS treatments to help him stay active.

 He was invited by his physio to take part in the Superhero Tri, organised by Paralympian Sophia Warner who also has cerebral palsy, to encourage disabled children to take part in sports.

 Other celebrities joining the event include The Last Leg presenter Adam Hills and Paralympic gold medallist Jonnie Peacock.

 Arlo will run and walk the final 1,000 metres of the course with the help of his family – Alice, Marcus and little brother Ezra (two) - after Kadeena and another team member have completed the swimming and cycling sections.

 Marcus added: “We want to show Arlo that he can do anything he wants to with his determination and our support.”

 Superhero Series founder and Paralympian Sophia Warner said: “I am thrilled that Arlo is joining forces with Team Kadeena to make a super team. The Celebrity Superhero Tri is going to be a fun-fuelled start to the Superhero Series, I cannot wait for August.”

 To sponsor Arlo and support Imperial Health Charity, you can visit



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