National Portrait Gallery Brings Creative Arts Workshops to Young People in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Gallery partners with Chelsea and Westminster to expand the reach of its long-standing creative arts programme in children’s hospitals in London, following renewed funding from Delancey and The Earls Court Development Company

The National Portrait Gallery has partnered with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and CW+, the official charity of the Trust, to expand its long-standing arts provision in children’s hospitals in London. Chelsea and Westminster has become the fifth hospital to participate in the Gallery’s Hospital Programme, which supports health, wellbeing and happiness through arts in health programming inspired by portraits and stories from the Gallery’s Collection. The Hospital Programme already runs at four London children’s hospitals: Evelina London, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Newham University Hospital and The Royal London Hospital. The extension of the programme to include Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has made been possible by renewed support from Delancey and their new Earls Court based business, The Earls Court Development Company, which will enable the Gallery to continue working with all five hospitals until 2024.

Over 20,000 young people and their families have benefitted from the Gallery’s Hospital Programme since it began in 2002. The Gallery usually takes artists into each hospital to deliver 60 workshops a year to children of all ages, and their siblings and parents. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated visiting restrictions, live workshops have been impossible since March 2020. In response to these ongoing challenges, the Gallery has worked closely with play therapists and specialists, nursing staff and hospital teachers to develop remote alternatives as a way of reaching isolated patients, moving face-to-face sessions onto digital platforms and developing free creative digital resources. 

To mark Mental Health Awareness week, from the 10 – 16 May, and the new partnership with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, the Gallery has created a new series of films for children and young people at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital at a time where face-to-face teaching is still not possible. The films, created with the Gallery’s artist educators, encourage patients to take five minutes to relax and focus on a mindful drawing activity. The five artist-led activities are inspired by five sitters from the National Portrait Gallery Collection - Beatrix Potter, Satish Kumar, Richard Long, Barbara Ward and Vivienne Westwood - all champions of conservationism and environmentalism, which is the project theme for 2021, and nature is the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

CW+ and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital have been at the forefront of the global arts in health movement for over a quarter of a century combining visual and performing arts with live music and dance alongside their art collection, made up of over 1,800 artworks, many of which are bespoke commissions.

While social distancing measures are in place, their award-winning arts in health programme operates digitally to safely deliver an engaging, inclusive, active and connected programme for patients and the broader community, called Virtual Connections. The new films will be available on Virtual Connections via bedside monitors and via CW+ for use on personal devices on-site and in the community to help support the physical, mental, and emotional recovery of patients in hospital and at home. The films will also be available to young people and their families at the other four partner hospitals and on the National Portrait Gallery’s website.

"The Earls Court Development Company is delighted and honoured to be able to help secure and support the extension of the National Portrait Gallery’s Hospital Programme to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital."

Rob Heasman, Chief Executive Officer, The Earls Court Development Company

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to extend the reach of our creative arts provision in children’s hospitals across London and we are extremely grateful to Delancey for their renewed support, which will allow us to continue this vital work. At a time when many children in hospital have been bed bound and restricted to only one visitor for months, providing patients with the opportunity to engage with art and creativity has never been more important. We are pleased to have been able to continue to run our workshops through remote sessions and digital resources, which make a positive contribution to young people’s health and wellbeing during this challenging time.”

Trystan Hawkins, Director of Patient Environment at CW+ said: “We are delighted to partner with the National Portrait Gallery to provide this new, creative content for our patients as part of our rich visual and performing arts programme. Mindfulness and wellbeing are increasingly important and we’re thrilled to be able to offer new and innovative ways to holistically support our patients.”  

Jamie Ritblat, Founder and Chairman at Delancey said: "We are thrilled to be able to continue our multiyear support for the National Portrait Gallery’s Hospitals Programme and be able to extend this to now include the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital until 2024, alongside the four other hospitals in the existing programme. With visiting times terribly limited during COVID-19, projects like this are vital in providing patients and their families with a chance to engage socially and creatively, whilst bringing some positivity to patients’ lives and putting a smile on young faces.”

Rob Heasman, Chief Executive Officer, The Earls Court Development Company said: “The Earls Court Development Company is delighted and honoured to be able to help secure and support the extension of the National Portrait Gallery’s Hospital Programme to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, additional to the four London Hospitals Delancey and some of its other platform businesses already supports. This is one of our first large-scale community partnerships and is undeniably vital for young children and their families, during these restricted and difficult times. I am so glad ECDC can be supporting the hospital at this most challenging of times.”


For further press information please contact: Laura McKechan, Senior Communications Manager Email: Tel: +44 (0)7855 768 750

About the National Portrait Gallery

Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery, London is ‘to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, and ... to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media’. The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world, from Elizabeth I to Stormzy. Artists featured range from Holbein to Hockney, and the Collection includes work across all media, from painting and sculpture to photographs and video. In addition to painted portraits, drawings, sculptures and miniatures, the Gallery holds over 250,000 photographic images from the 1840s to the present day.

About Delancey

Delancey is a specialist real estate investment, development, and advisory company whose activities encompass retail, residential, logistics and commercial real estate across London and the UK. Collaborating on a wide range of assets, partners and clients, Delancey is recognised for its innovative and diverse approach to creating long term value from real estate. Delancey also advises clients on appropriate capital structures, financing and provides asset management and development services, and has a diverse portfolio of retail, residential, office and corporate assets across London and the UK, including the Alpha Plus schools group and the Elephant & Castle Town Centre Regeneration in Southwark. Delancey is also a pioneer in the private rented sector and has spent much of the last few years bringing the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics to life; it is delivering over 3,000 homes for rent at the multi-award winning neighbourhood East Village, the former London 2012 Athletes Village in Newham, and it transformed the 2012 press and media broadcast centre into world-leading digital campus Here East. More recently, the joint venture acquisition of the Earls Court development site was completed in December 2019. This iconic landmark, which sits within the boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham comprises London’s largest cleared Zone 1 development site. Delancey, alongside its newly formed platform business The Earls Court Development Company, will lead the regeneration of this critically important London location, which has the potential to be a world class scheme, showcasing the best in sustainable, community focussed and environmentally enhanced design. 

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About The Earls Court Development Company 

The Earls Court Development Company is the new Earls Court-based business, responsible for driving the development of the Earls Court masterplan forward on behalf of Earls Court Partnership Limited. The Earls Court Development Company’s ambition is to seek a new visionary masterplan for the site, that stitches the Earls Court back into its local area and sets a new global standard for a sustainable, vibrant mixed-use development. The Earls Court Development Company will be delivering and developing the 25-acre former Earls Court Exhibition Centre site. The vision also seeks to extend the masterplan to include the Lillie Bridge Depot land, thereby increasing the development site to 40 acres. Following the handing back of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates (the estates) to London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, the estates will not be included in the masterplan. There is now a clear opportunity for a fresh approach at Earls Court with the former exhibition centre sites ready for development.