westley design | inclusive landscape architecture

Royal Cornwall Hospital Play for Life

Inclusive therapeutic play project

The challenge

The instinct to play is fundamental to human behavior at all ages. In children, play is essential to the development of the whole child; physical, mental, intellectual, social and spiritual. Children learn both life skills and knowledge more deeply and intuitively through play. If the nature of the play engages all of the child’s senses and their imagination and creativity, that learning is exponentially greater. As with its learning benefits, so play brings healing benefits which increase with multisensory engagement and the stimulation of the imagination and innate creativity of the child. Whatever the child’s range of sensory or intellectual ability, there is always a form of play which they can engage in? Play is just as important to children in hospital as it is to children in the wider community.  It is difficult to overestimate the impact on a hospitalized child of an environment dominated by clinical routines dominate each day.  This project has sought to listen to the younger hospital patients as well as adults.  They’ve made it clear that they have aspirations to be outdoors and the need to respond to acknowledge the ‘whole’ patient experience, not just the routines of hospital life.

What we did

Westley Design advised on the design and delivery of an Inclusive Consultation and Design Process developed by RCHT with Royal Cornwall Hospital School. We then produced an inclusive play design masterplan and report in support of funding application.

The result

The Royal Cornwall Hospital Inclusive Design Play space is designed to offer the child, carer, clinician, teacher or health worker a range of different sensory, intellectual, social and physical/ mobility options for the play experience. All areas and play elements are designed to be used by children of all abilities and mobility to different degrees, depending upon their capacity and choice to interact. As well as specific therapeutic effectiveness, the design is intended to offer a place of respite and sensory richness to children, teenagers and adults. It is a place with something to offer to everyone in the wider hospital community. The project proposals comprise a diverse landscape that will entertain, inspire, and absorb the users, taking them out of the hospital environment and into the world of their own imagination. The proposal is currently being promoted by the trust for funding.

Play for Life tree houses design planPlay for Life MasterplanPlay for life gardening playPlay for Life apple play space

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