Early Christmas Gift for NHS Staff at Leeds Children’s Hospital

Richard Merrick and Sarah Syson from Claremont, NHS Staff Rachael Newby and Michelle Kite and Emily Wragg, Candlelighters CEO.

Hard working NHS staff at Leeds Children’s Hospital have been treated to two new staffrooms thanks to children’s cancer charity Candlelighters, nationwide interior design and fit-out business Claremont and communications agency CDS.

Children’s cancer charity Candlelighters orchestrated the project and called upon local organisations to help renovate the staffrooms within the hospital’s children’s oncology department, to support 200 healthcare workers’ emotional wellbeing.

Refurbished for the first time in 12 years, the tired staffrooms have been given a colourful overhaul with new wall graphics, kitchen, storage, lockers, and comfortable seating areas.

It took a team of 19 people from Claremont 42 hours over four days to transform the two 400 sq. ft staffrooms into relaxing and well-equipped spaces for staff to relax and recharge.

Emily Wragg, chief executive at Candlelighters said “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with CDS and Claremont to create and deliver two brand new staffrooms for the NHS staff. We’ve worked alongside the hospital teams for the last 45 years and we know how tough their day-to-day roles are, and particularly how the pandemic has impacted them. It has been so important to give them the space they need to take a break, eat, and relax. We’ve been absolutely blown away by the commitment and professionalism of CDS, Claremont, and their contractors, who all at absolutely no cost to the charity or the hospital, have delivered two outstanding staffrooms that are an absolute world away from what they were like before. We can’t thank them enough.”

Julie White, Candlelighters lead nurse for Children and Teenage Cancer at Leeds Children’s Hospital said: “It’s been a tough time for staff following the pandemic – and morale has taken a real hit. This refurbishment has made a huge difference to our working environment and encourages staff to allow themselves more exceptionally precious downtime.”

Claremont’s team spent several weeks designing the project prior to refurbishing the space. Sarah Syson, design manager at Claremont, which delivers office interior design projects for businesses across the country, said: “The team at CDS first mentioned the Candlelighters’ project to us in 2021 when it was their charity of the year. They asked us to design a space that would deliver on feedback they’d gathered from children, parents and staff and we were only too happy to help. With input from the hospital, we felt the staffrooms should be our focus as they provide a vital wellbeing space for staff.

“This has been a very rewarding project and we worked closely with the hospital, Candlelighters and our supply chain, who have shown tremendous generosity throughout. It’s been a special experience for our team too, all of whom gave up their weekends and rolled-up their sleeves because they wanted to make a difference.”

Thanks to Claremont’s supply chain, most materials, fixtures and furniture were gifted. Flooring was supplied by Milliken and fitted by SD Pare, paint was supplied by Kindecs along with graphics installation, kitchen cupboards and accessories were donated by WREN Kitchens with additional joinery items supplied by Compass Interiors, TV screens were supplied by Viewpoint and chairs were gifted by Boss Design. Graphics were designed by CDS, part of the Bailie Group and supplied by Artworks.

Adrian Mullen, creative director at CDS said: “The NHS and Candlelighters teams provide invaluable support for those facing childhood cancer in the region – but who supports them in turn? After two of the hardest years in healthcare, when taking a break during a shift, these hard workers deserve a space to themselves which allows them to take some time out away from the harrowing day-to-day.”

Michelle Kite, matron for Children’s Haematology and Oncology, who the new staffrooms were officially handed over to, said: “Our colleagues work incredibly hard, in the most challenging of circumstances, in order to provide the best care possible to children, young people and their families – and having a space like this to take a moment makes a real difference. A huge ‘thank you’ to Candlelighters, CDS, and Claremont and everyone in-between, for making this happen. They have given the hospital, staff, children, and their families a tremendous gift. We are very grateful.”

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