Youngsters get creative at North Manchester General Hospital

Official opening of the decorated cubicle in Paediatric ED
Youngsters get creative at North Manchester General Hospital
28 December 2018

A group of Year 8 and 9 pupils from Trinity High School in Manchester have had their original artwork officially unveiled in North Manchester General Hospital.

Twenty students, all aged between 13 and 14 years old, planned a mural for the hospital’s Paediatric Emergency Department for eight months. They visited the hospital to begin the designing and painting on the 70th anniversary of the NHS in July.

Every year the school takes part in ‘Giving Back with Art’, a scheme where schools give back to their community through art. This year art teacher Simon Tran wanted to explore a project by teenagers, for teenagers.

Many children’s wards and emergency departments focus decoration and activities on young children, but North Manchester General’s mural gives voice to older children and aims to give teenagers something to focus on and distract from their reasons for being in hospital.

The artwork, which takes over the walls of one of the cubicles in the children’s emergency department, is designed to reflect Manchester’s diversity, community and togetherness.

Patients and their families will see bees and honeycomb pattern symbolising the city’s industrial heritage and its togetherness; a figure with rainbow-hued hair is a connection to the strong LGBT community; the city’s strong musical history is represented in a bar of music. There’s also a nod to the city’s ongoing development, with a towering skyline above a railway bridge connecting Manchester onward.

Punit, 14 from Moss Side, said: “It’s been really good to work together as a team; I’ve made new friends on the project and learning how to get on and make decisions together has been an important part of it.”

Laura, also 14 from Urmston, said: “It’s been amazing to be part of everyone’s creative ideas coming together over time, with everyone able to have their say. I’ve learned new techniques and have had chance to do a lot more painting than I usually do, which will help with my GCSE work.”

Art teacher Mr Tran said: “We’re a Manchester school – we have a very wide catchment area – so it’s nice to give something positive back to the city at a hospital some of our students will know, in the area they live in.”

Dianne Cook, Lead Children’s advanced nurse practitioner, said: “Allowing the pupils from Trinity High School to have a voice and an opportunity to shape the environment we provide for them on the emergency department has resulted in true co-production. Their creative design and delivery of the brilliant artwork has resulted in a cubicle on our department that young people who attend with an acute illness or injury can enjoy and be assessed in.”