The ‘new look’ refurbished restaurant is now open to staff and the public after a grand opening by Kevin McGee, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Preston-headquartered architecture, design, and masterplanning practice, FWP’s team has created an inviting, modern and bright space, which includes a dedicated area where hospital staff can relax and have food and drink while on shift. The new space includes a bespoke mural by local artist, David Robinson from DaveRob Design, who was commissioned to create a striking montage of the city’s landmarks, famous people, and characters. The artwork was endorsed by Preston-born Nick Park, who gave permission to include one of his most famous creations, ‘Wallace and Gromit’, as a ‘thank you’ to NHS staff for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The refreshed restaurant space, with seating for around 230, also connects directly to a new garden area, which includes a hand-crafted steel memorial tree where names of those who have donated organs will be engraved onto leaves. David Simmons, FWP senior associate, who led on the project, said: “We have given a fresh new look to what was a much used but tired space. The Charters Restaurant plays an important role in the hospital as its main restaurant and café area. The refurbishment has created a clean and bright eating and meeting place that is both modern and spacious, and very far removed from the traditional hospital ‘canteen’ feel. The Preston montage is a great feature, and will be a fantastic talking point for visitors, while the new garden adds to the light and open feel. Delivery of the project was a team effort, and we worked very closely with the Trust throughout.”
Many of the improvements have been made possible by £70,000 in funding from the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity team, and a £65,000 grant application from NHS Charities Together, which enabled the procurement of furnishings and a new 24-hour kitchenette facility. A further £4,900 was used to provide new conservatory blinds and the mural.
Head of Charities, Paula Wilson, said: “The charity is thrilled to be able to support colleagues with this wonderful new dining area, and what a fabulous NHS75 birthday present for everyone. The real icing on the cake is the mural, and the fact that Nick Park was thrilled to be asked to contribute.”
Chorley-based D&G Builders undertook the construction work, while new furniture was provided by Manchester-based Telegraph Contract Furniture, and the artwork printed and fitted by Preston-based Lustalux.
The restaurant’s mural includes some of Preston’s most famous faces and landmarks, with depictions of Preston North End legend, Sir Tom Finney, the Guild Wheel, and the iconic clock at the Brutalist Preston Bus Station – showing the time set at 20:00 as a mark of respect to colleagues, signifying when the ‘Clap for Carers’ took place during the pandemic.
David Robinson said: “As a proud Prestonian, it was an absolute honour to collaborate with FWP and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity on the artwork. Preston has so many iconic elements from its past and present. I think the hardest part of the project was deciding what to put into the illustration, and what to leave out. The new restaurant looks fantastic, and I hope visitors enjoy the new space.”