Chelsea and Westminster Hospital gets new patient arts studio

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has opened a new creative and therapeutic space for patients.

The CW+ Studio, named after the trust’s official charity, was launched last week and has already welcomed patients through its doors.

Part of the CW+ programme, Arts for All, the charity calls the studio a ‘bespoke multi-functional art and cultural space’ that is ‘equipped to become a hub of cultural activity for the hospital community’.

Work and construction on the studio was originally completed in March 2020 – but the grand opening was put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The arts programme was instead diverted online, while the studio became a temporary, 24-hour ‘wellbeing hub’ for staff members.

A ‘hybrid programme’ of online and small-scale in-person ‘live’ events and workshops is now expected in the short-term.

In the long-term, however, the CW+ Studio aims to host a co-designed programme of artist and musical residencies, health-related support groups, carer support, and rehabilitation and counselling sessions. The colourful space will act as a hub for musicians, visual artists, creative movement specialists and art psychotherapists to provide clinical sessions, and to deliver social prescribing and community outreach.

Built following accessibility principles, good practice and design standards, the arts hub is both dementia-friendly and wheelchair accessible. Some of the notable features include a disabled toilet, adjustable lighting, an integrated sound system and kitchen facilities.

Trystan Hawkins, Arts Director at CW+, said: “Our ambition is to offer the best possible care during a hospital admission and to support people to stay well in their communities once discharged, by fostering healthy ageing and encouraging social engagement.

“With the bespoke CW+ Studio space, we are able to deliver an engaging, inclusive, active and connected programme that will have far reaching health and social benefits for participants and the communities in which they live.”

There’s also 100 sqm of floor space for events, and the arts studio aims to host around 1,128 activities across the next three years – potentially reaching over 25,000 people.