The team responsible for conserving the historic North Wing at St Bartholomew’s Hospital for future generations has won a grant of £151,600 from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.
The crucial funding will allow Barts Heritage to continue its project to restore the Grade I listed North Wing and Henry VIII Gatehouse, which will include new health and wellbeing facilities for hospital staff.
With many major grant-giving programmes currently suspended or focused on responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, Barts Heritage has reshaped its programme into two smaller phases of work to address the most pressing works, securing the historic fabric and opening up the space for public use.
The first phase of the project is planned to coincide with the 900th anniversary of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in 2023 and will secure the fabric of both buildings and renovate its two principal interiors.
The Heritage and Hospital are working in partnership to provide wellbeing facilities for the staff within the west pavilion of the North Wing. These will serve as pilot projects, co-designed with hospital staff, and will inform future upgrades to the building.
Facilities will include relaxation areas for staff to gather and unwind; smaller private rooms for professional services such as psychological care; spaces for creative and innovate thinking in teams, and larger spaces for group exercise and physiotherapy.
A number of classes for NHS staff are currently being provided in the North Wing's Great Hall (pictured), including jiu-jitsu and low impact circuit training.
It is hoped that wellbeing programmes will be made available for wider audiences as the project develops, including schoolteachers, community leaders and youth workers, subject to consultation and further planning.
Barts Heritage chief executive Will Palin said: "We are thrilled to have been awarded £151,600 from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.
"This crucial grant will enable us to continue our pioneering project to restore our Grade I listed buildings as a new model for heritage and wellbeing.
"This funding will enable us, at this challenging time, to press ahead with project development, implement pilot schemes, build our volunteer base, and further strengthen our partnership with St Bartholomew’s Hospital as it approaches its 900th anniversary."
Professor Charles Knight, chief executive of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, said: "The historic North Wing is at the heart of our working hospital.
"It is both a physical manifestation of excellence and a representation of the principle of universal care which inspired the foundation of St Bartholomew’s Hospital nearly 900 years ago.
"Saving it is an urgent and time-limited opportunity for us and, thanks to the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, Barts Heritage can continue to develop its plans to restore the fabric of this wonderful building and create a much-needed new health and wellbeing hub for staff, patients and visitors, where the beautiful historic spaces can become places of healing, contemplation and inspiration."