A new Sight and Sound Centre

Josh with his mum, Wendy, sitting in their back garden
We're excited to announce that we're fundraising for a state-of-the-art centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to benefit children with hearing and sight loss, like nine-year-old Josh.

Set to open in 2020, the Sight and Sound Centre, supported by Premier Inn and Restaurants, will be the first dedicated medical facility for children with sight and hearing loss in the UK.

Patients with conditions that affect their ability to see and hear represent the largest outpatient group at GOSH, accounting for 25,000 patient visits each year. While the specialist care provided by the departments is already excellent, current facilities do not cater for their needs. “The Sight and Sound Centre will improve care by bringing clinicians supporting these children together in one place,” says GOSH’s Chief Executive, Dr Peter Steer. “It will vastly improve the patient experience by creating an environment tailormade to their needs.”

Many patients and their families are excited to visit a bespoke centre for children and young people with sight and hearing conditions. Nine-year-old Josh is one such patient, who visits GOSH with his mum, Wendy, for treatment for his rare condition, Norrie disease, which affects his sight and hearing.

“Josh finds the current waiting room areas a bit noisy and chaotic,” says Wendy. “There don't seem to be any toys or books for visually impaired or blind children, so we take our own braille playing cards and games.”

The new Sight and Sound Centre, located just a short walk from the main hospital, will be specially designed with patients like Josh in mind.

Building funds, building a hospital

Fundraising through Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity has already begun, with an incredible £10 million pledge from Premier Inn and Restaurants, building on their team members’, customers’ and suppliers’ remarkable feat of raising £7.5 million for the hospital’s new Premier Inn Clinical Building, which was opened earlier this year.

Children with sight and hearing loss and their families were involved in the design briefing of the new specialist Sight and Sound Centre, helping to create a welcoming environment that is fully accessible and easy to navigate.

Josh has been involved in the design of the centre. Wendy says: “Josh went to a planning day with his dad and said that he would like the chairs to be the same height for parents and children so that he could hear me and make it easier to play cards.”

The centre will also include a garden with plants designed for children to see, touch and smell, and specially commissioned artwork that incorporate bespoke sensory elements thanks to GOSH’s in-house arts programme, GOSH Arts. “Outside space would be wonderful,” says Wendy. “Josh struggles with the closeness and noise of the current waiting room environment.”

Josh, in his garden
Construction starts soon

Construction is due to start in the autumn of 2018 and will take 18 months, led by architects Sonnemann Toon, who have a successful track record in converting listed buildings into beautiful clinical spaces, and healthcare construction specialists Kier.

Tim Johnson, Chief Executive of GOSH Charity added: “We’re absolutely delighted to be able to support this very important project providing fantastic new facilities for children who experience sight and hearing loss. We’re hugely grateful to Premier Inn and Restaurants for their incredible pledge of £10 million. We hope that pledge will be matched by the generosity of other supporters and we’re optimistic about reaching the £25 million target by 2020!”

If you're interested in learning more about the Sight and Sound Centre and how you can help, please get in touch below.

Contact the team