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Artists to help patients freshen up Swansea hospital

Two artists are liaising with patients and staff to transform the appearance of a Swansea hospital ward.

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Sian Hughes and Sarah Jane Richards hope their collaborative work will provide inspiration to those on the ward and support recovery.

They were selected jointly by Swansea Council's cultural services staff and Swansea Bay University Health Board.

They are working with the Fendrod Ward at Cefn Coed Hospital's Tawe Clinic. The clinic provides assessment, therapeutic interventions and support for individuals experiencing an acute mental health episode where inpatient care is necessary.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council's cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "We were delighted to find Sian and Sarah Jane to work with the hospital on this active collaboration with staff, managers and patients on Fendrod Ward.

"This is the first time the council and health board have worked together in this way. It's important that public bodies collaborate in ways such as this; we want the arts in health link to become an increasingly powerful strategic alliance."

David Roberts, Swansea Bay Service Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, said: "This project will create an improved therapeutic environment that offers a warm and calming welcome to patients, their families and friends. 

"By integrating art and interior design within the site, it is expected that the resulting environment will be unique and special. 

"We are delighted to have Sian and Sarah Jane on board."

The Fendrod ward is a 20-bed male facility that provides care and treatment to adults.

The artists, following creative consultation with patients, their families and staff, will transform the ward with art. Outputs may include a colour palette and decorative features for walls and windows to create a welcoming entrance, comfortable day spaces and peaceful, quiet spaces for relaxation and reflection.

The artists' design phase - which began in April - incorporates activities that engage patients, families and staff through dialogue and creative participation.

Sian Hughes said: "Together, we're exploring ways of making connections between the architecture of the ward and its interior. We want to provide uplifting moments at key locations and use the right materials and finishes to ensure the design remains fresh and useful in the long term."

Sarah Jane Richards said: "At Cefn Coed Hospital we want to work with others to create a distinctive, unique, warm and welcoming identity for the ward through work that is sensitive to site. Together, we'll produce work of quality that is the result of socially-engaged working."

Sian and Sarah Jane and are a creative partnership. Their commissions include: the Sefton Coast Sculpture Trail and an award winning project for the Trauma Brain Injury Unit at Morriston Hospital. They are about to embark on a nationwide project - Back From the Brink - led by Natural England.

Individually, both have wide experience of working in arts in health, with vulnerable adults and mental health users,  as well as working in their own professional fields.

Fendrod ward Occupational Therapist Peter Ludbrook said: "Art can be transformational for staff, patients and carers.

"Changing a plain clinical environment with fresh inspiration that can support recovery and promote compassion can only be a good thing."

Photo: Pictured at Cefn Coed Hospital are, from left, Fendrod Ward manager Janine John, council cultural services officer Kate Wood, artist Sian Hughes, artist Sarah Jane Richards and Occupational Therapist Peter Ludbrook.

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