24 June 2008,

Ben Bradshaw, Minister of State for Health, opens Sunshine House

Ben Bradshaw, Minister of State for Health, opens Sunshine House, a special building for special children - 27th June 2008

On June 2nd, Ben Bradshaw, Minister of State for Health saw a little bit of sunshine when he officially opened Southwark Primary Care Trusts landmark £8.5million children's development centre, Sunshine House.

The sunshine will be the smiles of delight on the faces of the special children and young people who use the wonderful services that the new building houses.

Sunshine House brings together for the first time a range of specialist services for children and young people with disabilities and complex needs, meaning patients can conveniently receive all treatments under one roof.

More than 12,000 children and their families will benefit from services at Sunshine House which are provided by nearly 200 specialists in health, mental health, social care and education.

The centre is equipped with sophisticated facilities including a gymnasium with a gait analysis system helping children walk, a sensory room for children with visual or behavioural problems, and audiology suite for hearing tests.

Designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, a key element of the building's distinctive design is the use of bright colours on all windows and external metal work, giving the building a truly child-friendly look.

The building has recently been awarded a RIBA award for the London region, which are given for buildings that have high architectural standards and make a substantial contribution to the local environment.  The building will now go on to the national awards which will take place on the 27 June 2008.

The building's striking design is enhanced by the artwork of two renowned artists - Jacqueline Poncelet and Milou van Ham - which creates a stimulating and inviting environment for children, their families and staff. The artwork was commissioned by Karen Sarkissian, Director of Art and Heritage from Guy's and St Thomas' Charity in collaboration with Modus Operandi art consultants.

Ben Bradshaw, Minister of State for Health, said, "This is a wonderful building with first class facilities. What is even more impressive is the wide range of services that have been brought together under one roof from both health, social care and education to deliver the kind of fist class coordinated care that these special children and their families need if they are to make the best start in life that they possibly can."

Harriet Harman MP said, "This is a much needed and valuable service for children with special needs, disabilities and other vulnerabilities. I am delighted that Ben Bradshaw MP is opening the centre today and can see at first hand how Government investment is helping the people of Southwark."

Mee Ling Ng, chair of Southwark PCT, said: "This exciting new building reflects Southwark Health and Social Care's commitment to modernising services for children with special needs, disabilities and other vulnerabilities. The decision to build a new children's development centre has given Southwark the opportunity to put children and their families at the centre of its vision."

Cllr Lisa Rajan, Executive member for Children's Services, Southwark Council, added, "Sunshine House is a fantastic new building and gleaming example of what we are doing in Southwark - putting children and young people at the heart of all our services and modernising them in a way that makes them more responsive to the needs of those who use them and better equipped to meet those needs."

Simon Allford, Partner, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris commented, "Sunshine House has been greeted with tremendous enthusiasm by the local community, staff and most importantly by the users of the building.  The building has become a landmark in the area and we are delighted that the design has been honoured in the RIBA London Awards."

Melissa Mead, mother of four year old Abigail Bolt-Mead, said: "It's great that everything is now under one roof, it means we no longer have to travel around. It won't be so daunting for Abigail as she really likes the new building, especially the colours. It really puts a smile on your face."

Abigail has a rare and genetic motor neuron disease which affects her voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, and swallowing.


Notes for editors

Sunshine House was designed by leading architects, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and built by Willmott Dixon Construction.

The centre has been developed by Building Better Health - Lambeth, Southwark Lewisham Ltd (LSL LIFTCo), a public-private partnership working together to provide high quality health and social care premises.

Andrew Pike - Southwark PCT
Email: andrew.pike@southwarkpct.nhs.uk - Telephone: 020 7525 2244