This week we've got a story about a clinic that's using interior design to tackle mental health issues, a photo project that heroes vaccination volunteers and a campaign to end period shame. If that all sounds interesting then read on…
Why is it that clinical settings are usually so... well, clinical? Pale blue walls and tired vinyl seating? Strip lighting and faded pictures? Clearly these contribute very little to the wellbeing of anyone who's feeling a bit under the weather. But with their latest project for Edinburgh's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), Project Office have created a space that challenges how healthcare environments look and feel.
The London architects have thrown out the battered coffee tables and well-thumbed copies of Take a Break and installed flexible seating that allows families and carers to create spaces to talk. There are also colourful communal areas and quiet corners for reading or retreat.
Architect and Projects Office co-founder, James Christian says:
"At a time of stretched NHS funding and increased demand for mental health services, we believe that good design is a powerful and cost-effective healing tool."
A shot in the arm
If anything good has come out of the COVID pandemic, it's the recognition of the everyday heroism among NHS workers. Another round of applause please. But, as the vaccination program gathered pace over the latter part of the 2020, trained staff were in short supply and the Government gave the go-ahead for vaccines to be administered by non-clinicians. The result was the formation of a UK-wide army of volunteer vaccinators.
It's these volunteers who became the focus of a project by photographer Matt Davis when his wife signed up to be trained.
“I kept hearing about the vaccination effort but very little about the volunteers themselves. It made me wonder who these volunteers were.”
Davis travelled around the UK snapping volunteers at their homes in London, Oxford, Manchester and Leeds.
“I felt incredibly humbled... like I needed to try harder after meeting them. And that’s how a lot of the volunteers felt. They never felt like they were giving enough, even if they were giving a tremendous amount. They just wanted to help."
About bloody time
There's pride in every woman's period. So declares broadcaster Emma Barnett in her pro period panegyric 'Period: It's about bloody time'. First published in 2019, the book is about to appear in a newly expanded edition. To support its release, book retailer Waterstones has nailed its colours to the mast – or at least to an off-licence wall in East London – installing a supersize sanitary pad as part of the billboard. Big, bolshy and bloody inspired.