By Toby Ingle, Associate Director at Corstorphine & Wright

We have reached an incredibly exciting milestone in our journey to building the Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease, after submitting final designs and plans for the centre to Leeds City Council.

There has been some fabulous, high-energy engagement as part of our extensive stakeholder sessions, where words such as ‘corridor’ were banned (circulation areas) and we really captured the needs of many different people, made up of our staff and patients of course, but also key roles such as the infection prevention team.

When we held our first sessions last year, we captured five key words that we felt represented the group’s vision for the centre. The word ‘community’ was at the forefront of those initial discussions and has remained at the heart of what the centre is all about.

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In our designs for the centre, we have encapsulated this sense of community by creating a central space in the building where patients, families and staff can come together, complete with reading and quiet spaces, as well as activity and dining areas.

From conversations with staff, we also understood the importance of creating a designated space for the team on the first floor away from clinical areas. These need a dedicated wellbeing space, where patients can take a few moments maybe after difficult conversations. Dr Jung and her team also need space to grow and develop the service in the future, and this has all been factored in.

As well as creating a space where the community can come together to support one another, another one of our main visions for the centre is sustainability.

This is reflected in everything, from the location on site and the materials we build it from, to the furniture, colours, and textures we will weave throughout the building and its surroundings. We have designed the centre with a vision for the future so that the building can adapt to new treatments and innovations for MND patients as they emerge.

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The centre will have a real presence at Seacroft Hospital, and will make the most of the existing landscape features on site, including mature trees. Patients, families and staff will also have access to private landscaped gardens with a mixture of planting for patients to engage with and different textures upon which to check how they cope with these. The garden will also provide spaces for other therapy activities to take place as well as a memorial wall for private moments.

We’re awaiting the review process and approved and once we have that, it will be full steam ahead for Leeds Teaching Hospitals to commence the next phase of the build. It’s an exciting moment.

Architects design of the rear of the building with green spaces outside

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