Public invited to share views on arts programme for new hospital in Berwick – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

The £30million state-of-the-art Berwick Infirmary development offers exciting possibilities not just for the future of healthcare, but the arts as well.

So far, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Bright charity has worked with hospital staff and town representatives on a programme which has included popular live music performances on the elderly care ward (pre-pandemic), a regional photography competition which showcased photographs on the building hoardings and several arts projects involving local schools.

Now, a full schedule of planned arts projects has been drawn up for the new hospital and a drop-in event, which takes place at The Maltings on Wednesday, May 4, from 3pm until 7pm, will give residents the opportunity to learn more and give feedback on the plans.

Proposals at this stage include a programme of regular live music performances, a community art gallery, a Remembrance garden, a wall showcasing the history of the hospital, a display based on the recent archaeological finds, a mobile sculpture situated in the atrium and an external sculpture situated in the hospital grounds. In addition, ideas are sought for the carving of a historic tree, which stood within the grounds but had to be removed for the new build.

Brenda Longstaff, Northumbria Healthcare’s head of charity, said: “The new hospital at Berwick is a really important healthcare development for the area, so we are keen to embed our successful healing arts programme which plays such a key part in the life of our other hospitals.

“The arts can play a dynamic role in supporting patient and staff experience, but the programme for Berwick also offers real opportunities for the local community to get involved, which is why we are keen for people to come to the event on May 4 to find out more and share their views.”

A major archaeological dig has been taking place on the Infirmary site and two members of the post-excavation team will also be attending the event with a selection of the finds.

Cath Ross, project manager for Northern Archaeological Associates Ltd, part of Ecus Archaeology, which has been carrying out the excavation, said: “The open events that we held at the site last summer were really popular and the people in Berwick were keen to come and learn more about their town’s history, which is why we’re delighted to be able to showcase some of the finds to the public in this way.”

Those attending the event will also be able to sign up to become a member of Northumbria Healthcare, a key part of its status as a foundation trust. Members are eligible to stand as public governors, with this year’s nomination period currently open.

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