06 November 2009,

BaS LIFT - Pioneering Artwork Unveiled as £8.5m Centre Opens to Patients

  • Youth community personalise building façade with striking 18 metre art installation

  • New £8.5m primary care centre fully opens its doors to patients

A pioneering 18 metre long art installation has been unveiled at the new Richmond Primary Care Centre in Stechford, Birmingham, as the centre opens this week.

The striking vinyl art installation, which runs across the front glazed façade of the building, was commissioned by NHS Birmingham East and North and their partners Birmingham and Solihull (BaS) LIFT and Prime plc, to mark the opening of the new £8.5m primary care centre which will meet the needs of Stechford's 13,000 strong patient population.

The project, co-ordinated by local artist Johnny O'Hanlon and freelance photographer Dan Burwood involved 40 residents from Stechford, primarily drawn from youth and community groups. Individuals were tasked with representing their lives and interests in a fun and bright mural combining photography and hand drawn art, with the end result very much mimicking the style of modern urban art.

BaS LIFT Art Projects Manager, Gemma Fernihough explains: "Stechford has a high proportion of young people living in the community, and we really wanted to help them engage with the new centre, to support its development and appreciate the services and facilities on offer to them. Vinyl art has been trialled successfully on one or two other LIFTCo health centre projects around the UK, and we were keen to pioneer something on a large scale at Stechford to add interest to the long glazed front façade.

"The key to successful community art is to allow individuals to shape the project, and we took time to engage a wide range of groups, running several workshops to allow many different ideas to be explored and added to the artwork. Their contributions ranged from images of sporting activity to musical productions and much more, all set against an urban backdrop with the recurring theme of shadowing each image. The combined impact is very striking, whilst balancing a need to create privacy in the reception area and still allow in plenty of natural light."

Donna Macarthur, Director of Primary Care Commissioning at NHS Birmingham East and North said: "We are delighted that this artwork has been created by the local community for the local community to enjoy. Not only does it contribute to the distinctiveness of the building, it also celebrates young people and places within the local area."

Richard Cutler, Development Director at Prime plc adds: "The end result of this art project at Stechford is excellent. Not only does it make the building unique, the process of creating the installation and the contemporary feel of it helps to engage with some members of the community who traditionally wouldn't make full use of the facilities on offer to them. Through LIFT Co's in Birmingham and North Staffordshire we have trialled a range of art and community involvement projects and they really can make a difference to the successful integration of new buildings in local communities."

The centre is set to transform healthcare provision in the area by bringing together a wide range of health and care services under one roof including: significantly increased NHS dentistry provision, four GP surgeries from the Stechford community, new podiatry services and physiotherapy services relocated from the Swan Centre, as well as health visiting, district nursing, child health and mental health services.

The new primary care centre is located on a one acre site on the corner of Richmond Road and Bordesley Green East and lies in the heart of the patient population. The centre is only 1.5km from Heartlands Hospital, with excellent transport links and provides on-site patient and staff parking.

For further information please contact BaS LIFTCo Tel: 0121 452 5103