Celebrations and a special ceremony will mark the opening of a brand new facility for teenagers and young adults with long-term health needs at Noble’s Hospital this week.
An initiative of Manx charity Bridge the Gap (BtG), the Pod will be a VIP retreat for patients aged between 16 and 24 with complex, chronic or life-threatening medial conditions. The modern, garden-style building is set in a landscaped internal courtyard, directly connected to the main hospital. The Pod’s design, construction, interior fit, furniture and equipment have all been funded by BtG with generous support from many local sponsors and supporters. The facility is being gifted by the charity to Noble’s, with ongoing estate costs to be met by the Department of Health and Social Care.
BtG’s Pod will be opened at 4pm on Friday 9 November with DHSC Minister David Ashford and Frances Jones from Noble’s Hospital’s senior management team in attendance.
The Pod aims to be a haven for young adult patients who need a break from the routine of an adult medical ward. Many will previously have been cared for in children’s wards where the atmosphere is very different and the Pod will help ease this transition. Kitted out with a wall-mounted TV, games, activities, a study area and a fire, it will offer plenty to keep young patients busy, while providing a cosy chill-out zone if they simply want to relax.
The BtG project has been developed in a unique collaboration with Noble’s and the Youth Service. In a related initiative, the charity is also funding a youth support project within the hospital and youth workers will use the new facility as their base. A steering group comprising representatives from all three partners will ensure best use is made of the Pod, adding another dimension to the care and support offered to Island patients.
Founder of the charity Fiona Barker said:
‘Our dedicated team has worked tirelessly over the past four years to turn our vision into reality and we are grateful to everyone who’s supported the project, ensuring the Pod is built and equipped to the high standards young patients deserve.
‘The imaginative design by Val Lloyd of Architecture in Mann has created a light and airy environment that opens into a tranquil outdoor seating area. Val has been dedicated to this project and without her help it would have been impossible to create such an amazing space. Organic Construction Solutions and their sub-contractors have also fully embraced the challenge, working enthusiastically to ensure our vision has become a reality.’
Senior manager at Noble’s Frances Jones said:
‘Young people with long-term conditions often have extended in-patient stays or repeated visits to the hospital. The Pod will be the first age-appropriate chill-out space for these young people in Noble’s, an environment which is quite different from a clinical ward.
‘The Pod represents a tremendous achievement for BtG which has driven the project from the start. It’s required long-term collective effort, determination and teamwork and I’m delighted to see this outstanding new facility open. I’m sure it will be a much valued asset.’
Principal Youth Officer at the Department of Education, Sport and Culture Nigel Howard said:
‘The Youth Service welcomes the opportunity to be part of this three-way partnership. Our work with charities is increasingly important as we strive to meet the needs of young people in whatever setting. Our trained youth workers will offer support to young patients in the hospital and via an outreach programme in the community. This joined-up approach will eliminate the possibility of young people missing out on youth work activities due to hospital treatment.’