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noahs ark logoThree days into the current season of 40 days and 40 nights of rain, north London's own Noah's Ark was officially launched by the Mayor of London. Its precious cargo? Not animals, but children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families. The following report on the opening ceremony is reproduced from the Noah's Ark website.

On Thursday the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, officially opened Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice’s new building – the Ark – serving North and Central London and Hertsmere. The Mayor was joined by representatives from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, longstanding partners of the charity, including captains Hugo Lloris and Jenna Schillaci.

The Ark is the first children’s hospice built in North or Central London or Hertsmere for many years and is the only one based in they charity's large catchment area. Noah’s Ark has been providing ‘Hospice-at-Home’ and community-based services, supporting babies, children and young people with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions, their siblings and families since 2006. The Ark will complement these services and enable Noah’s Ark to increase the scale and quality of its delivery.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “Noah’s Ark has been a beacon of light for the children and families it serves, so I’m delighted that they have a brand new home. The Ark will ensure that children across North and Central London receive the best possible care and support. It’s a children’s hospice that has been built by the community for the community, and is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when Londoners work together.”

five mayors at the opening of the arkA miscellany of mayors at the opening of the Ark. The Mayor of Enfield, Kate Onolue, is on the far left (of the photo, that is)

SERVICES AT THE ARK
The hospice building will offer a range of children’s palliative care services supporting children who are have life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. Services will include: family and children’s activities in sensory, music and art rooms; specially designed gardens and surroundings to provide play, sanctuary and peace for children and families; delivery of 24-hour end-of-life-care, including specialised care for neonates; and post-death care, including 24-hour family access to their child’s body and bereavement counselling in dedicated bereavement suites.

THE BUILDING
The Ark is set in a 7.5-acre nature reserve in Barnet. Each room has a connection to the landscape, making the hospice feel more like a home than a medicalised hospital. The connection to the nature reserve was a vital part of the plans; the proximity to nature being part of the healing process. The building is the shape of a butterfly, the symbol of the children’s hospice movement. The central atrium is flooded with light to create a feeling of openness, warmth and hope.

QUOTE FROM NOAH’S ARK CHILDREN’S HOSPICE
Ru Watkins, Chief Executive of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, said: “It’s wonderful that our families’ vision for has been realised for a children’s hospice in North London filled with life and light. It’s an iconic building and the perfect environment for children to receive their care and for families to receive support. It will give so many children and families the space to be themselves, to appreciate nature and to enjoy their time together. A huge thank you to our community whose generosity has enabled us to complete the Ark, allowing even more children and families to receive support in the years ahead.”

QUOTE FROM A FAMILY SUPPORTED BY NOAH’S ARK
Rose Charles, whose grandchildren have been supported by Noah’s Ark, said: “Two years ago, I called for a children’s hospice building to be built in North London in time for my lovely granddaughter Sophie, for whom I’m the guardian. It wasn’t available for my grandson Ben, who died a few years ago. I was determined that things would be different for Sophie. I never imagined that two years down the line my dream would become a reality. It’s a joy to see the care that this place will give to Sophie. It’s a testament to Noah’s Ark Children's Hospice and its supporters that this building is now here and will become so full of life.”

QUOTE FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Donna-Maria Cullen, Executive Director at Tottenham Hotspur, said: “We are so very proud to be a partner of Noah’s Ark Children's Hospice. We have huge admiration for the staff, volunteers, brave families and children. The Ark truly is the home that the charity and those it supports deserves – providing first-class facilities to further enhance the vital delivery of care and support. The Club, its staff, players and fans are humbled to have played a small part on this journey.”

QUOTES FROM BUILD PARTNERS
Murray Levinson, Partner at Squire & Partners, architects of the Ark, said: “Once we discovered the wonderful work Noah’s Ark Children's Hospice was doing for families in North London dealing with an unimaginable situation, the decision to support them in designing a new hospice building was easy. The team at Noah’s Ark focus on bringing joy into the children’s lives - we wanted to create a building which amplified that experience. Our concept always focused on the experience of a child, creating a low level building set into the landscape with wings like outstretched arms which invite families into the heart of the building, a double height timber framed central hall full of light and life.”

Alicia Gomez, Associate at Gensler, said: “As landscape architects, we have a huge responsibility to deliver high-quality environments that facilitate the connection between people and place and improve people’s physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Noah’s Ark Children's Hospice will offer the children and their families a holistic indoor-outdoor care journey that is not restricted to treatment rooms but that begins upon arrival, expands through the building and continues to the therapeutic gardens, demonstrating the ultimate link between palliative care, wellbeing and nature.”

Andrew Renshaw, Head of Valuation and Professional Advisory, and JLL UK Board Member commented: “The opportunity to support Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice on a project as rewarding and fulfilling as this was a privilege. The Planning and Project Development Services team at JLL have long been part of the hospice’s community, and worked closely with the Noah’s Ark team to design and build the state-of-the-art hospice facility, suited to their specific needs.”

Nigel Bellamy, Director at 8build, principal contractors of the Ark, said: ‘8build are truly passionate about giving back to the community and from the moment we learnt about Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice’s mission to ‘Build the Ark’, we were determined to help in any way we could. Our 8builders have been deeply committed to delivering such a worthy project, contributing our skills and expertise to create such a beautiful space for those in need. We hope that the Ark provides children and their families with the freedom and space to experience adventure and relaxation, just as we all envisioned it would!’

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