19 May 2020
Every day, staff working on the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Royal Free Hospital walk down the same plain corridor to start their shift. Now, this has been transformed into an uplifting space that shows staff just how much they are appreciated.
A combination of art sent in following a public appeal, work produced by specialist graffiti and street art team Graffiti Kings and donations to the Royal Free Charity, has been used to fill the walls with colourful pictures and messages.
“We want them to smile and take a little time away from thinking about work,” said Sinead Hanton, ICU matron. “When they arrive or leave the ICU they are usually deep in thought, especially if it’s been a particularly difficult shift. We hope this will give them a lift.
"I've wanted to brighten up this space with a mural for a long time, and with the added pressures of our response to COVID-19, it seemed like the right time. We approached the Royal Free Charity, and I was blown away by the response - they have taken our initial idea and transformed it into something that really captures the thanks and support from the community."
Richard Scarth, interim chief executive of the charity, said: "Once we put the word out that this corridor needed cheering up, the response from the public was amazing and we were able to create this wonderful wall really quickly.
"I think people are so aware of how the staff at our hospitals are going the extra mile on every single shift at the moment, working in such challenging circumstances, that they want to dive in and help in any way they can. We're so pleased we can channel that concern into practical help like this."
Sinead also had support on the project from her colleague, graduate management trainee Nima Roy. “I was overwhelmed by the number of people who got in touch wanting to contribute – everything from teachers setting this as their class ‘homework’, to Princess Eugenie sharing a plea for art on her social media,” said Nima.
“I think everyone realises the incredible work the staff are doing every single day for us, and this is their way of saying ‘thank you, we appreciate you, in our eyes you’re heroes’.”
Sinead added: “We’ve now received some terrific artwork from children and adults who want to show their appreciation. And Graffiti Kings have kindly donated their time to create a mural on the other on the theme of NHS heroes. The charity have paid for the materials.
“I hope our staff will recognise that they are the heroes shown on our wonderful new walls.”