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Children's Cancer Unit transformed with space-themed makeover

charities 1The Children's Oncology Outpatients Unit at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital has been transformed into an inspiring Spaceship Academy, thanks to generous funding from donors including Thomas Cook Children's Charity.

The enhancement of the unit has turned the previously stark and clinical unit into a bright, stimulating and colourful environment, making it more child-friendly and welcoming for the young patients treated there.

The unit is the regional centre for children and young people diagnosed with cancer. These children can remain on treatment from between six months and three years at a time, with many experiencing repeated admissions. The Outpatients Unit has ten consulting rooms and sees approximately 60 outpatients daily. During such a difficult time, it's vital that patients have a welcoming environment, to make them feel a little more at ease during their time on the ward.

The refurbishment has seen the unit undergo a full makeover; with the spaceship design theme running from reception, to waiting area, through to the treatment rooms and day case bed areas.charities 2

The reception area has been transformed with cladding to represent a spaceship control centre, whilst the waiting area has been re-imagined as an Apprentice's Workshop with an interactive space themed mural. A new 'thumb-prick area' features an array of printed ceiling tiles, creating the impression that the children are looking at the underside of a spaceship, helping to make the procedure seem less threatening. Vinyl graphics have been applied to the beds in the day case bed area to make each bed look like a spaceship.

Malcolm Dean, Vice Chair of the Thomas Cook Children's Charity, commented:

"On behalf of Thomas Cook Children's Charity, I am delighted that our contribution will help make what can often be a daunting hospital visit a little easier for young patients at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. It's been a pleasure to continue to support the hospital and to make the Children's Oncology Outpatients Unit a calm, family-friendly new space that patients, their families, and the hard working staff will all benefit from."charities 3

Young patients and their siblings were invited to help with the re-design of the unit by taking part in a creative drawing competition, which asked the children to design their very own spaceship for the wards. A panel made up of Thomas Cook and hospital staff had the tough task of choosing the coolest spaceships, which have been brought to life by the illustrator Hammo and will feature on the consultant room doors throughout the ward.

Sarah Naismith, Head of Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity, added: "We're thrilled with the exciting new look and feel of our Oncology Outpatients Unit. Our aim was to redesign the space to provide comfort and distraction and aid psychological well-being for children suffering from life threatening diseases. We've had brilliant feedback and know the transformation will make a big difference to the children and their families treated there.

"We could not have undertaken this significant project without the generous support of Thomas Cook Children's Charity.  With their help we are continuing to ensure that Royal Manchester Children's Hospital isn't just the largest children's hospital in the UK, but also one of the very best".

The makeover of the children's oncology outpatients is the first phase of refurbishment to make the environment better for children with cancer.  The second phase will see the children's cancer inpatient ward and the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit being transformed later this year.