FWP and Conlon complete on mental health rehab unit

Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP) and Conlon Construction have completed the creation of a rehabilitation unit which will help patients recovering from mental health conditions regain the skills associated with day-to-day living.

The  architect, design and masterplanning practice and the contractor, both Lancashire based, delivered The Skylark Centre at the Royal Preston Hospital on behalf of Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

FWP coordinated the interior design of the project, with all parties working together to ensure the scheme was delivered to projected timings, despite the coronavirus lockdown.

Patients who have experienced long periods in hospital will use the facility to regain the confidence and skills needed to carry out typical activities of daily living before they are able to return home. The centre, which features 11 beds, will work to rebuild abilities such as cooking, cleaning, laundry care and shopping, as well as help patients towards returning to employment.

FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester and London, has a wealth of experience in the healthcare sector. Its specialist mental health team coordinated the design work.

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.”

Earlier this year, Conlon Construction, which has a rich history in the development of healthcare facilities, announced it had selected mental health charity Lancashire Mind as its chosen charity for the year.

Darren Lee, commercial director at Conlon Construction, said: “Mental health is growing concern both nationally and within our sector. The lockdown has seen a surge in loneliness, anxiety and depression across the UK, while construction workers specifically – which make up seven per cent of the national workforce – account for more than 13 per cent of suicides in the country.

“We opted to partner with Lancashire Mind so that we can do our part to bring those figures down. Facilities such as The Skylark Centre will make a huge difference for the Preston community, providing much needed care and ongoing rehabilitation for all the practical elements of life – the things people forget are so important to recovery.

“This was a project delivered in true partnership, at a time of major adversity. Only by working intrinsically with FWP and Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust were we able to deliver such a high-quality unit.”

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