Valley Presbyterian Hospital in California, is hosting a new concept in playrooms, designed to expose children of patients to a virtual experience that will make them feel comfortable in a sometimes frightening hospital environment. The area will be known as the Bluebell Railway Playroom and was recently opened by actor Goran Visnjic, renowned for his role as Dr. Luca Kovak in the hit series, ER.
Photographic images taken by British photographer, Derek Hayward, of the Bluebell Railway, in Sussex, were enhanced in England by Anna-Marie Buss of Bussroot Limited, graphic designers based in Paddock Wood and then sent to Los Angeles to be blown up to life size to create a space very separate from the rest of the hospital.
Critters and animals hidden in the foliage of the woods on the walls surrounding an area decorated like a railway and a station can make time pass speedily as children search for them. Brightly coloured bean bags in the middle of a "plank wood" carpet are perfect launching pads for day dreams or naps, or they can cuddle in the waiting room on highly polished wood benches which look out at a tunnel where a train might be coming or perhaps where creatures hang out!
"The room's initial purpose," says Judie Stein, the Director of the Stein Family Foundation that funded the project, "is to give attention to children while their adults' attention is elsewhere. We've given them a sanctuary of sorts to prepare for whatever is happening at Valley Presbyterian - whether it be a loved one's illness or a new baby in their home."
Both Bussroot and Derek Hayward have given their time and resources free for the benefit of the children and it is hoped that the innovative project may be a model for other facilities elsewhere.
Photos available. (High resolution copies of the pictures available on request)
YouTube video available.
www.bluebell-railway.co.uk train.fotopic.net www.bussroot.com
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