Over the past 160 years, Great Ormond Street Hospital has had many firsts. It was the first hospital in the UK offering dedicated inpatient care to children. It pioneered the first heart and lung bypass machine. And in 2001 it was the only centre in the world that was able to replace heart valves, without heart surgery.
When it came to the playground design, Great Ormond Street Hospital worked with Disney to create a ‘reef’ theme. The equipment was to include famous Disney characters that patients would recognise, whilst the surfacing was to include multiple shades of blue to mimic the sea and a compass with the renowned Micky Mouse silhouette.
RTC Safety Surfaces was asked to help the hospital reach this next milestone, its first outdoor play area for patients and their families.
Over the course of the installation, RTC's team hand-drew and installed each graphic to ensure it followed the design put forward from Disney. (Click 'Visit website' opposite to see the time-lapse video.)
One challenge the project faced was the location. Not only was the project in central London, it was also on the roof terrace of one of the existing hospital buildings. To ensure minimum disruption to patients in nearby wards, RTC's operations team kept in constant contact with everyone involved even using specialist equipment to ensure the work was carried out as quietly and quickly as possible.
The play area was officially opened in June 2018 by team members from Great Ormond Street Hospital, The Walt Disney Company, and Tess Daly.
After the playground was opened to patients, Sue whose daughter is a regular inpatient said: “I was struck by looking at all the children in the reef because for a short moment they could forget the traumas that many have to go through whilst at GOSH. All the faces were smiling, eyes forgetting the pain for that moment and enjoying seeing Mickey and all his friends, the reef echoed with laughter and excitement – Magical. It is already a go-to place for all during their stay. A place full of fantasy to take children and their families away from the traumas and the reality of life they are often facing."
"So to all the teams, thank you from a parent that saw it in reality for the first time yesterday but also saw the amazing effect it had. I will leave the last word to Holly she told everyone yesterday it was ‘totally awesome’!”