RPS is collaborating with a number of other leading businesses to ensure the most cost-effective delivery of a vital community asset, the first children’s hospice building in north and central London.
Our London Cannon Street office has been providing part pro-bono advisory services to Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice (https://www.noahsarkhospice.org.uk/) since 2015 as it works to achieve the realisation of a physical hospice facility in Barnet. The organisation has already established a valuable ‘hospice-at home’ service in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, Hertsmere and Islington supporting children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses and their families within the comfort of their own homes since 2006.
It is currently supporting around 200 families in their homes within north and central London where more than 1,200 babies, children and young people are living with such illnesses. Once the building is completed then Noah’s Ark expect to be able to provide care for 450 children and their families on-site, as well as significantly expanding their service delivery capability off-site.
Noah’s Ark invested in the site in 2010 with a vision to provide the hospice building. It started consulting with a wide range of people from families using its ‘hospice-at-home’ service to local residents, healthcare professionals and the construction industry to formulate the ambitious development plan and the effective path to realise it. Main contractor 8build is seeking partners both within its existing supply chain and others it has not worked with before, asking businesses to offer their services to help the project. The entire project cost would be over £7m, but a combination of freely donated service input offered by several keen supporting companies and a strong organising team working hard to get the best from the project is ensuring more can be achieved and within a lower budget. Not least of all is some serious fundraising from local businesses and business chains to increase the investment in the hospice.
Already known as “The Ark”, the facility will be set on a 7.5-acre nature reserve in Barnet and will be a home from home for children who are seriously unwell, where they will be given the time and space to be children and not just patients. It will provide an inspiring facility for relaxing, adventure and for children and their families to connect with others facing similar challenges.
At the heart of the facility, an airy barn-styled atrium will open into four outstretched arms: offering children’s accommodation, family accommodation, office areas, play areas and therapy rooms. The slope of the site has allowed for a design where one end of the building will be two-storeys with the upper storey enjoying as much of a feeling of the greenspace outside as the ground floor.
"I don’t see this as a standalone programme’ says Ru Watkins, Chief Executive of Noah’s Ark, ‘it’s very much a partnership’. With so much interest and input, Ru is correct, as RPS Director Neil Andrews sums up: ‘We’re trying to achieve something quite special here: collaboration."
Construction started in 2017, and 95% of the brickwork is now complete.
RPS’ project management, cost and building consultancy team, based on Cannon Street, London are working with the charity to fund raise and support the construction - both financially and where possible, with the resourcing - of what will be a life-changing facility for many.