On Monday 22nd November, the Onward Arts and Chaplaincy teams at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Haywards Heath hosted a special event, to celebrate the re-opening of the renovated chapel space there. These enhancements began in 2020 and were made possible thanks to kind donations to BSUH Charity, which funds Onward Arts at our hospitals.
Chief Executive Marianne Griffiths was able to join the celebrations; she cut the ribbon to officially re-open the space, at a feel-good ceremony attended by staff from various teams at the hospital.
Local interior designer Sue Ashe kindly donated her time to bring the space to life, as a thank you to the NHS. She worked alongside Onward Arts Manager Erin Burns and Chaplains Joanna Elliott and Sue Anson, and the results are wonderful. The space incorporates images of nature, artificial plants, new furniture and carpet, and soft lighting; this creates a calming space for staff, patients, and their loved ones to reflect and rest in. The room also features three beautiful original artworks by staff member Joe Laffan. The hand-sewn pieces are made up of knitted hearts donated by the local community at the start of the pandemic.
Reverend Joanna Elliott, Lead Chaplain at both PRH and The Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton said of the chapel upgrades: “A lot of people have commented on the peace and quietness and the tree mural is very appreciated. The sofas are well used for people to relax, and the space has been used for staff emotional debriefs and for staff needing a friendly space for difficult conversations with relatives. One staff member said it made her ‘feel hugged’ to come into the Sanctuary area, and it is frequently noticed how different it is to the rest of the hospital.”
Onward Arts run the permanent arts programme at UHSussex. The team strives to enhance the experience of patients, visitors and staff and create healing hospital environments through the use of the arts.
All are welcome in the space whatever their faith or beliefs; it can be utilised for recovery, prayer, or time out of the busy working day.