New mental health unit aids patient recovery

Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP) has successfully completed its latest healthcare project.

Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust’s new rehabilitation unit at Royal Preston Hospital is now open and supporting patients recovering from mental health conditions.

FWP and its specialist mental health team coordinated the interior design of the Skylark Centre. Building work was carried out by Preston based Conlon Construction.

Leading architect, design and masterplanning practice FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester and London, has a wealth of experience in the healthcare sector.

The Skylark Centre will deliver care that enables people to regain the confidence and skills to carry out the typical activities of daily living.

The interior design was fully coordinated by FWP to bring the unit’s spaces together seamlessly, to enhance and enrich the patient journey and to aid their recovery.

David Simmons, FWP associate partner and interior designer, said: “We were tasked with delivering a robust and safe environment for patients, while also maintaining a domestic feel to the unit.

“One of our main aims was to improve the patient experience. We’ve done that through thoughtful modern design and the use of colour and light to create a calming and peaceful atmosphere.

“There’s a woodland theme running through much of the work, which gives an added air of tranquillity and a spacious feel to the whole area.

“We think we’ve delivered something special, which is far removed from people’s traditional view of a hospital unit.”

James Halsall, FWP’s lead designer on the project, said completing the scheme during the Covid pandemic was “particularly challenging”.

FWP worked closely with the project team, including Conlon Construction, to meet those challenges.

James said: “Team interactions, working practices and material procurement all had to be reviewed in order to minimise disruption to the project timescales, whilst maintaining safe working practices within government guidelines.

“It has been a credit to the whole team, and in particular Conlon and its supply chain, that the project was delivered with minimal impact to the programme.”

Lorraine McDonald-Johnson, care group manager for transformation in Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust’s Mental Health Network, said: “We’re delighted to be able to provide this vital rehabilitation service within the Lancashire and South Cumbria area.

“Supporting the practical road to recovery and helping to build confidence following a mental health condition is just as important as providing care and medication to treat the illness.

“Our team at the Skylark Centre will help patients begin the journey back to an independent life with improved wellbeing.”

FWP has a successful track record of delivering NHS projects in the North West over the last 25 years, including more recently the Life and Urgent Care centres at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital; The Minerva Centre in Preston North End’s Deepdale ground and the Oaklands Mental Health Facility in Lancaster.

FWP is a RIBA practice as well as being CHAS and ISO 9001 accredited.

It offers architecture, M&E design, structural engineering, interior design, building surveying, project management, quantity surveying and CDM consultancy services.