The Ark was opened in September 2019 but what does it look like inside? Take a photographic tour around our new children's hospice.
The Ark is the first children's hospice built in Greater London for many years - and the first in our large catchment area of North and Central London and Hertsmere.
The Ark will enable Noah's Ark Children's Hospice to expand our community-based services and increase the scale and quality of our offering to families. It will offer children's palliative care services for children who are life-limited or life-threatened.
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The Ark's Activities Wing is already open to children and families, offering a wide range of services, including:
Therapy rooms where children can take part in art, music or drama therapy.
One child who has benefited from music therapy is Joe, whose story you can read here. Toni, Joe’s mum, said: "I can see from his reaction that as soon as Kirsty, the Noah's Ark Music Therapist, comes in he knows she’s here for music. He hears the wheels on her case; we call it the Magic Case!"
Toni is looking forward to seeing Joe spend time in The Ark because of the social aspect. She said, "As Joe spends so much time at home it’ll be nice that he’ll already know Kirsty and the hospice will have more space and equipment; space for music therapy groups. That would be new for me, to see Joe with another child, with music, to see how they bounce off one another."
Sensory and Soft Play Rooms for children with learning difficulties, developmental disabilities or sensory impairments, enabling them to interact with the world around them in a safe environment that builds up confidence.
Play therapies are known to help with stress and anxiety release and pain management. We are working with the Spread a Smile charity to bring this area to life. They will be providing free entertainment with magicians, singers, storytellers etc.
Vikki, our Specialist Play Worker, knows the importance of providing sensory play to the children we support. Children like Kye who has been supported by Noah's Ark for a number of years. Kye's mum, Shani, says: "Kye’s condition has completely damaged all her cognitive skills except her hearing. She’s got to know Vikki’s voice and it’s so nice to hear the interaction between the two of them."
"Play is a part of Kye’s world that she really enjoys. It brings out a totally different side of her, a different attitude. Through play she is able to communicate. It is obvious that Kye is comfortable with Vikki and enjoys her presence."
An accessible outside playground to allow children to get involved with everything from a wheelchair seesaw, trampoline or accessible swing.
This is really important as there are no fully accessible play areas like it in North or Central London so it’s really difficult for families to take their children and siblings to the park to play. As Elina, mum of Noah's Ark child, Freya, said: “All I want is for Freya to be able to live and play like any other child; The Ark means complete peace of mind because I know that she’ll be safe, cared for and smiling.”
A Cinema Room, already greatly enjoyed by siblings of Noah's Ark children, with table football and computer games.
The home cinema was donated by a company called Together for Cinema, which is an AV industry collaboration which designs and installs home cinema rooms in children’s hospices across the UK. For Noah’s Ark siblings, they don’t always get as much attention as their seriously unwell brother or sister, and therefore having their own place to hang out and play is so important for them.
CHILDREN'S AND FAMILY WINGS
On the other side of the building is the in-patient unit, comprising six children's bedrooms and three family suites. Opening in 2020, this will provide 24-hour end-of-life care, including specialised care for neonates, as well as being a high dependency unit for children not well enough to be at home.
The Ark also provides post-death care, including 24-hour family access to their child's body and bereavement counselling.
There are specially designed Butterfly Rooms, where parents and families can spend time with their baby or child after death. Central to the rooms are cold blankets to keep the body cool after death, allowing families to spend more time with their loved one.
The Butterfly Rooms can be customised by families to create the space where they feel comfortable. This includes the unique technology which allows an image to be projected around the room so that the room can look and feel as they want – they might choose it to feel like an underwater scene or the child’s home bedroom.