Hospital Restaurant gets a major makeover led by FWP

The Charters Restaurant at the Royal Preston Hospital has undergone a major makeover led by the award-winning design team at FWP Ltd.

The new look refurbished restaurant is now open to staff and members of the public after a grand opening performed by Kevin McGee, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Preston headquartered architecture, design and masterplanning practice FWP’s team has created an inviting, modern and bright space, which includes a dedicated area where hospital staff can relax and have food and drink while on shift.

The new space includes a bespoke mural designed by local artist, David Robinson, from DaveRob Design, who was commissioned to create a striking montage of the city’s landmarks, famous people and characters.

The artwork was endorsed by Preston-born Nick Park, who gave permission to include one of his most famous creations, Wallace and Gromit, as a thank-you to NHS staff for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The refreshed restaurant space, which has seating for around 230 people, also connects directly to a new garden area which includes a beautifully hand-crafted steel memorial tree where names of those who have donated organs will be engraved onto leaves.

David Simmons, FWP senior associate who led on the project, said: “We have given a fresh new look to what was a much used but tired space.

“The Charters Restaurant plays an important role in the hospital as its main restaurant and café area. The refurbishment has created a clean and bright eating and meeting place that is both modern and spacious and very far removed from the traditional hospital ‘canteen’ feel.

“The Preston montage that has been created is a great feature and will be a fantastic talking point for visitors.

“And the new garden adds to the light and open feel of the restaurant, with its striking memorial tree another focal point for visitors and staff alike. Delivery of the project was very much a team effort and we worked very closely with the trust throughout.”

Much of the improvements at Charters Restaurant have been made possible by funding of £70,000 from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity team and a £65,000 grant application from NHS Charities Together, which enabled the procurement of furnishings and a new 24-hour kitchenette facility. A further £4,900 was used to provide new conservatory blinds and the iconic mural.

Trust chief executive, Kevin McGee, was delighted to see the end product. He said: “A massive thank you to the charity, whose help and support made the refurbishment possible, and thank you to the architects and builders for working so hard to finish the job within the shortest possible timescale.”

Head of Charities, Paula Wilson, said: “The charity is thrilled to be able to support colleagues with this wonderful new dining area, and what a fabulous NHS75 birthday present for everyone.

“The real icing on the cake for me is the mural and the fact that Nick Park, himself, was thrilled to be asked to contribute. I was very proud to see it at the opening, it really is beautiful and gives colleagues the relaxing recreation area they deserve!”

D&G Builders and Joiners, based in Chorley, carried out the construction work on the project. The restaurant’s new furniture was provided by Manchester-based Telegraph Contract Furniture and the artwork was printed and fitted by Preston-based specialists Lustalux.

The restaurant’s mural includes some of Preston’s most famous faces and landmarks, with depictions of Preston North End legend Sir Tom Finney, the Guild Wheel, and the iconic clock at the Brutalist Preston Bus Station – showing the time set at 20:00 as a mark of respect to colleagues, signifying when the ‘Clap for Carers’ took place during the pandemic.

David Robinson said: “As a proud Prestonian, it was an absolute honour to collaborate with FWP and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity on the artwork.

“Preston has so many iconic elements from its past and present, I think the hardest part of the project was deciding what to put into the illustration, and what to leave out. The new restaurant looks fantastic, and I hope visitors enjoy the new space.”

Emma Turner, managing director of D&G Builders and Joiners, added: “We are delighted to have been able to help renovate the Charters Restaurant and give hard-working staff a comfortable new space to take time out, particularly in the year of the NHS’ 75th birthday. It’s nice to give back to the trust after what they did for everyone during the pandemic and continue to do for the community.”

FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester, and London, has a wealth of experience in the healthcare and hospitality sectors, including providing its full range of services for the comprehensive internal remodelling of the restaurants and exhibition spaces at Rheged visitor attraction near Penrith.

It has also worked on a wide range of NHS projects, including the delivery of the award-winning £9.4m Wesham Rehabilitation Centre on the Fylde Coast, the Life and Urgent Care centres at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and The Minerva Centre in Preston North End’s Deepdale ground.

And at the end of last year an inspiring new home for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in Stockport, which was delivered by FWP, opened its doors to young people and families.