The Ark is officially opened by members of the Noah's Ark community, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and representatives from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club © GLA - Caroline Teo
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, officially opened Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice’s new building – The Ark - serving North and Central London and Hertsmere. The Mayor was joined by representatives from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, longstanding partners of the charity, including captains Hugo Lloris and Jenna Schillaci to cut the ribbon on 26 September.
The Ark is the first children’s hospice built in North or Central London or Hertsmere for many years and is the only one based in the charity’s large catchment area. Noah’s Ark has been providing ‘Hospice-at-Home’ and community-based services, supporting babies, children and young people with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions, their siblings and families since 2006. The Ark will complement these services and enable Noah’s Ark to increase the scale and quality of its delivery.
Sadiq Khan said: “Noah’s Ark has been a beacon of light for the children and families it serves, so I’m delighted that they have a brand-new home. The Ark will ensure that children across north and central London receive the best possible care and support. It’s a children’s hospice that has been built by the community for the community, and is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when Londoners work together.”
The hospice building will offer a range of children’s palliative care services supporting children who are life-limited or life-threatened. Services will include: Family and children’s activities in sensory, music and art rooms; specially designed gardens and surroundings to provide play, sanctuary and peace for children and families; delivery of 24-hour end-of-life-care, including specialised care for neonates; and post-death care, including 24-hour family access to their child’s body and bereavement counselling in dedicated bereavement suites.
Rose Charles, whose grandchildren have been supported by Noah’s Ark, said: “Two years ago, I called for a children’s hospice building to be built in North London in time for my lovely granddaughter Sophie, for whom I’m the guardian. It wasn’t available for my grandson Ben, who died a few years ago. I was determined that things would be different for Sophie. I never imagined that two years down the line, my dream would become a reality. It’s a joy to see the care that this place will give to Sophie. It’s a testament to Noah’s Ark and its supporters that this building is now here and will become so full of life.”
The Ark is set in a 7.5-acre nature reserve in Barnet. Each room has a connection to the landscape, making the hospice feel more like a home than a medicalised hospital. The connection to the nature reserve was a vital part of the plans; the proximity to nature being part of the healing process. The building is the shape of a butterfly, the symbol of the children’s hospice movement. The central atrium is flooded with light to create a feeling of openness, warmth and hope. Find out more about the building design here.
The project has been achieved through a unique collaboration between the design, property and construction sectors, who have come together to support the charity in their Building the Ark appeal. Alongside Ramboll who provided structural engineering services, the team includes; Squire & Partners, architect; Gensler, landscape architect; JLL, planning and project management; Pears Property, client advisors; 8Build, contractor, and others.
Collaborators have been involved in all stages of the development – from concept and fundraising through to planning and delivery – making the project possible by working on either a pro-bono or non-profit basis.
Ru Watkins, Chief Executive of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice said: “It’s wonderful that our families’ vision for has been realised for a children’s hospice in North London filled with life and light. It’s an iconic building and the perfect environment for children to receive their care and for families to receive support. It will give so many children and families the space to be themselves, to appreciate nature and to enjoy their time together. A huge thank you to our community whose generosity has enabled us to complete The Ark, allowing even more children and families to receive support in the years ahead.”