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Labs and Arts Care Courtyard Opening

22nd April 2022

Ribbon being cut at the Labs Courtyard

The Labs team were delighted to officially open the courtyard at the Kelvin building, which was created with the help of Estates and Arts Care to support staff wellbeing during the pandemic.

The idea for an outdoor space for staff was developed during the pandemic, when a tearoom used by staff had to be transformed into a Covid-19 testing lab to facilitate the unprecedented numbers of Covid-19 tests being analysed daily by the regional virus laboratory.

The senior management recognised the importance of creating a space that would promote mental well-being of staff. The initial vision for the courtyard was the brainchild of Gerardine McQuoid who thought of the potential to redevelop the unused hidden space that many staff working in the building never knew existed. A collaboration between the Labs and Estates teams helped create this fantastic space.

It was important that staff were engaged during the project as after all this was a space that was created for staff and needed to be reflective of Lab staff’s personality. We were very fortunate to have Grainne Kielty one of the Arts Care Artist in Residence based in Belfast Trust under the Trust’s Arts in Health Programme onboard to help us create a long-term art installation which would be the focal part of the space. Grianne facilitated many staff art workshops using the medium of felt to showcase the creative talents of lab staff, that is often not seen. The end result was a superb masterpiece drawing on the beauty of nature. The space was further enhanced by beautiful flower boxes kindly donated to labs by Unite the Union honouring the superb work carried out by lab staff during the pandemic.

Speaking about the transformation of the space, Geraldine McQuoid said, “This is our wee piece of heaven now in Kelvin!”. Watch the video to find out more about the project and how important this space is to staff below.