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Bright Horizons Foundation for Children Opens Bright Space, with the Whittington Hospital

January 30, 2020

The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children celebrated the opening of a new Bright Space at the Whittington Hospital in North London on 30th January 2020

The Bright Space, called the Rainbow Garden at the suggestion of some of the young patients, is an outdoor play area located on the Ifor Children’s Ward of the hospital which cares for over 2,000 children a year. The Foundation has worked collaboratively with the hospital’s paediatric team and playscape specialist, Timotay to design an accessible, fun, and spacious environment in which children can play, relax and recover.

The Refurbishment has doubled the size of the play area and includes the installation of a new soft-pour surface, shelter and shade from the elements — facilitating the use of the play area in all weathers. It now includes resources for children to enjoy small world, construction, gross and fine motor, role and sensory play. The play area is accessible to children who are in hospital beds or use wheelchairs, so that they too can enjoy and benefit from the improved environment and opportunities for play.


The Rainbow Garden includes:

  • Decking and ramps to provide access to the entire space and support gross motor development
  • Rainbow canopies which catch the light and rain, stimulating the senses; and provide shelter and shade in all weathers
  • Rabbit hutch and shelter to accommodate the ward’s play therapy rabbits, which reduce children’s anxiety
  • Bespoke London cityscape construction area and chalkboard which reference the external environment familiar to the children, and support gross and fine motor, and creative development
  • Tactile panels and chalk boards
  • Dedicated teen retreat for older children to enjoy

The project was generously funded by donations to the Whittington Charitable Funds and Bright Horizons Foundation for Children; and community fundraising by hospital staff and supporters and Bright Horizons employees. Whittington Health’s Consultant Paediatrician, Kerry Robinson, was integral to the design and execution of the play garden and commented. “We are absolutely delighted to have raised the funds to redevelop our play terrace, an area where we can engage our young patients in play therapy. Play completely changes a child’s hospital experience. If a sick child is kept active, there is a much higher  chance of a faster recovery. For children who are frequent attenders to the hospital, the focus on ‘play’ changes their experience entirely to one not of fear, but of fun. The new Rainbow Garden is hugely important to the children’s ward, and its redevelopment is an exciting opportunity to maintain and expand the high quality of our care we provide.”

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