Watch the Birdie!

The children’s ward at Forth Valley Royal Hospital has a new look – thanks to a makeover which includes bird boxes for children to peer into, and the chance to spot hidden nests in corridors en route to theatre.

It’s the result of a creative collaboration between visual artist Sharon Quigley and designer Andrew McGregor, who sounded out dozens of young patients and their families, together with staff, to find out how they would like to see the ward transformed.

Gone are Peppa Pigs, Thomas the Tank and Hello Kitty stickers to be replaced with colourful imagery drawn directly from the woodland surrounding the hospital. It features clouds, leaves, and the sound of birdsong, a clever combination of real birds tweeting and children playing.

For seven year old Rocco Falcone the lure of this bird box was too good to miss. He said: “It looks like chocolate eggs inside – it’s really cool!” Other bird boxes contain kaleidoscopes.

Childrens Ward Wall DecorationArtist Sharon Quigley said the new designs, which cover walls and doorways, were going down a storm.  She explained:

 We’ve seen kids run out of the lift and they say ‘wow, we want that in our bedroom.’ To see a reaction like this is great. They particularly love the bird boxes and are fascinated by the tweeting. We just wanted to make this ward a better place to get well in, and for people to visit.”

NHS Forth Valley Charitable Arts and Wellbeing Co-ordinator Babs McCool added:

 This is the first of a series of commissions in Forth Valley Royal Hospital, funded by endowments – the charitable arm of NHS Forth Valley. Whenever anyone from another department sees this work it inspires them to think about their own ward areas and my phone has been constantly ringing.”

The project has taken 18 months from the initial conception stage, which not only included taking soundings from staff, patients and their families, but also involved photography within the woodland surrounding the hospital. Also taking part in the project were patients from the former Royal Scottish National Hospital which once stood on the site who came back to share their memories.