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Engaging with children and young people

Who better to paint the picture of what children need, than children themselves? Engaging with families, we’ll create a unique environment designed to take care of the whole child. With an emphasis on usability, play and childhood, young people will be at the centre of the hospital’s creation, reflecting their own position at the heart of its existence.

Your views matter

Cambridge Children’s will be a co-produced hospital. This means we’ll be working closely with children, young people, their families and their carers, as well as staff and other stakeholders to make sure we build the best hospital to meet everyone’s needs.

Young people, children, families and carers are able to get involved in many ways, from helping plan how the hospital looks and feels, and how we deliver care.

Co-production to date

In 2018 a consultant architect was brought in to work closely with our children, young people, and their families (CYPF) on the mental health wards at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) to understand what’s important to them.

The workshops were highly creative and generated lots of ideas about how they would want to use the space, what they currently like about their wards and what they would change.

The sessions focussed around key points in the young people’s day and how their environment at each of those points can aid recovery and improve their experience.

Key priorities identified by CYPF included:

  • Safety
  • Homely, non-clinical feel
  • Privacy and dignity
  • Peaceful, low sensory
  • Green space
  • Facilities for families
Images from architectural workshop on the mental health children’s units
Images from architectural workshop on the mental health children’s units
‘The art of the possible’ – Imagining a new children’s hospital. Early inspiration for a new hospital as imagined by young people on our mental health wards together with Murphy Philipps Architects
‘The art of the possible’ – Imagining a new children’s hospital. Early inspiration for a new hospital as imagined by young people on our mental health wards together with Murphy Philipps Architects

Children give voice to their ideas

Cambridge Children’s organised a fun day to ask families what they wanted from the new planned regional children’s hospital.

More than 20 children and 10 parents and carers attended the day, hosted by Peterborough’s Family Voice, to talk about their views and share their experiences. The event included activities to support young people to effectively share their views – including drawing pictures, playing games and group discussions.

An interactive session organised by Family Voice Images taken from the Family Fun day in Peterborough
An interactive session organised by Family Voice
Images taken from the Family Fun Day in Peterborough
Images taken from the Family Fun day in Peterborough

Under starter’s orders at Chariots of Fire

Cambridge Children’s enjoyed its first public outing at the Chariots of Fire relay event to raise money for a new children’s ambulance being funded by ACT.

The event saw more than 2100 runners congregate on Queen’s Green in Cambridge to run the 1.7 mile relay race.

Volunteers wore yellow Cambridge Children’s t-shirts to help raise awareness of our plans to build the first children’s hospital for the east of England.

Sponsorship funds collected by ACT were used to fund a new emergency children’s ambulance service, dedicated to providing over 1,700 of the region’s sickest children with the highest level of care.

Under starter's orders at the Chariots of Fire relay race
Chariots of Fire race participants supporting Cambridge Children’s

Taking an ACTIVE approach

We’ve been speaking to young people at Cambridge University Hospitals via their young supporters group called ‘ACTIVE’. ACTIVE meets several times a year with support from staff to help focus on adding value to areas and services used by children and young people across CUH.

Fab Change

We had a Cambridge Children’s stand at CUH’s award-winning Fab Change Day for staff and patients from children’s services to come and celebrate the work being done across the services.

Annalise Lister (left) with music therapist Dawn Loombe Janine Machine from BBC Look East
Annalise Lister (left) with music therapist Dawn Loombe
Annalise Lister (left) with music therapist Dawn Loombe at the Fab Change day
Janine Machine from BBC Look East
Janine Machin from BBC Look East

In the news

BBC Look East broadcast a special feature about Cambridge Children’s.

More than six million viewers across the region tuned in to hear about our vision to combine physical and mental healthcare with the latest ground-breaking research to improve care for children across the east of England.

Presenter Janine Machin is pictured talking to parents on a paediatric ward at Addenbrooke’s.

The programme also featured interviews with CPFT’s child psychiatrist Jo Holmes, the Clinical lead for Cambridge Children’s, Rob Heuschkel and Professor David Rowitch, who heads up Paediatrics at the University of Cambridge.

Children’s Network

Cambridge Children’s Network is a group of children and young people and their families and cares, who are engaged in a range of creative ways to formally input into the Cambridge Children’s hospital project.

Find out more about the Children's Network

Other events include:

  • Engagement with the young carers group run by Cambridgeshire Community Services to capture feedback from children, young people and their families in the community
  • Speaking to patients from CUH and CPFT and their families/carers to capture their views
  • Setting up a Coproduction Collaborative to bring together professionals from across health, social care and the third sector
  • Briefings with partners across the whole Cambridge Biomedical campus from industry and academia
  • Meetings with representatives from Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire Community Services, NHSE, Public Health England, Peterborough County Council, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough STP and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CCG
  • Meetings with local healthcare organisations to understand how we can best deliver care across our region
  • Visits from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock and Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, who were briefed on Cambridge Children’s. Further visits with MPs are planned

A process of identifying and learning from national and international best practice has also started. The team has established close links with the Anna Freud Centre in London, which successfully completed a new build at Kings Cross in 2019 and have contact with centres of excellence such as Great Ormond Street, Toronto Sick Kids and Melbourne Children’s Hospital.

We’ve also established a collaboration with Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet which is being supported by the Lego Foundation to develop a new children’s hospital.