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Brightening up Level 8 at Derriford Hospital

By 20th July 2015 No Comments

A Driven Force, a group of volunteers with the aim of improving the experience for teenagers and young adults with cancer at Derriford Hospital, now has a very bright and very creative presence on level 8!

The group has been together since January this year and has been creating a plan which will help improve the service for young cancer patients at the Plymouth hospital. While patients already benefit from fantastic support and treatment from the amazing staff, they have seen that the spaces, facilities and resources aimed at the specific needs of young people, are somewhat lacking.

As young people themselves, the volunteers from A Driven Force understand that it’s important to see a ‘young’ presence to help young people feel welcome at the hospital. This sparked an idea to create a communications wall in the corridor on level 8 which would share the story and information of their work but which would also ask for comments and ideas from people visiting.

A very talented designer, Charlotte Hillman, agreed to help the group with the design and create a mural for the wall space. Project Manager, Claire Honey said, “Charlotte did an amazing job of interpreting the group’s ideas. She listened to what they wanted and created a design which the volunteers unanimously agreed on. Charlotte volunteered her own time to spend time with the group, to work with the estates team at the hospital and to turn the design into reality.” During the time that Charlotte was painting the wall she was approached by lots of people asking questions and received a really positive response – it can’t be missed! “The group wanted bold, and that’s exactly what they got!”

Charlotte said, “I became involved in the project after searching for some practical design experience. When I met the group they seemed really motivated and passionate about their cause which made me eager to help where I could. The communication point design was developed using their research and suggestions. This included a cityscape style to encompass the community involvement that the group are striving for and something bold so as to stand out in the corridor. After meeting with the staff at the hospital and organising dates and safety equipment, I set to work on painting.

The job took 3 days and during that time I had many conversations with passers-by including a game of guessing all the landmarks within the design. The staff and public were full of positive comments for the design and the project cause with many passing by more than once who commented on the development since they last saw it. I really enjoyed this paintwork and I hope that this wall will create more interest in A Driven Force and their activities.”

The wall will soon have boards added which will include information about the project, and there will be spaces to add comments and ideas so it will be totally interactive. The colours and design might also pop up in other spaces around the hospital and patients, family and friends will hopefully come to recognise the ‘young’ presence at Derriford.

Vikram Ajit Rajan Thirupathirajan, a volunteer with A Driven Force and student at DHS for Boys said: “I felt that the wall will be a way of informing people of A Driven Force and informing people of what’s to come, the teenage space. It is something that makes level 8 more welcoming to teenagers and young people as well as adults. People should use the wall as a source of information about A Driven Force, news about its aims and information about how to follow their work.”

A Driven Force is raising funds to improve the spaces dedicated to teenage and young adult patients. This includes a chill out space and medical spaces which are in desperate need of updating. You can follow their progress on Facebook or Twitter where there is also information about making a donation. Claire Honey added “The hospital has opened its doors to A Driven Force and given them the freedom to develop as a group, to explore the current service and to come up with solutions to create a better offer to young people. The staff at the hospital have been totally supportive and encouraging every step of the way.

RIO is supporting A Driven Force to develop their ideas and turn their passion and enthusiasm into a reality. RIO is a successful social enterprise based in the South West but with global impact, which provides positive and lifelong opportunities for young people and communities. For more information or to get involved in their fundraising campaign and donate some money for their good cause, please email claire.honey@realideas.org or call 08458 621288.

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