09 February 2020

Transforming outside space for mental health inpatients in North Somerset

Kate Simmonds Juniper Mural

Inpatients at a mental health unit in North Somerset are benefiting from a new view, thanks to a local artist.

A long stretch of fencing around the garden of Juniper Ward at the Long Fox Unit, on the grounds of Weston General Hospital, has been transformed with a beautiful calming mural.

It comes after Kate Simmonds, an Occupational Therapist who works for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, started a fundraising campaign to improve the outside space, raising £3,000 to pay for the mural.

Kate said: "We encourage our patients to go outside when appropriate, so I wanted to create an inviting space with a sense of calm that could be used as part of a patients' recovery journey. Some of the people who stay on our ward can be here for a long time, so to have something more interesting to look at will hopefully improve the sensory, visual and therapeutic environment of the space."

The scenic design creates a sense of space and beauty within the enclosed ward garden and includes aspects of the local area including the Mendip Hills and the village of Uphill, and painted trees to blend in with those behind the fence.

It was created by local artist Martin D'Arcy and took around ten days to complete.  He said: "I want to thank Kate and all who donated to make this dream happen."

Patients on the ward have described the mural as 'beautiful' and 'giving the sensation of space.' Comments include 'I think it's brilliant actually, better than looking at the wooden fence, especially as it brings in the trees behind it' and 'It makes me feel more positive.'

Kate continued: "It's really great to have the mural completed and to see how the patients have been reacting to it. I'd like to thank everyone who donated money to pay for the mural as it really is making a big difference to the time our patients are spending with us."

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