AFL Architects | Safeguarding Support Unit
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Safeguarding Support Unit

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An award-winning project to refurbish a key department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The Safeguarding Support Unit provides new clinics and offices within an existing space as part of wider decant and consolidation works.

The SSU is a specialist facility that supports children and young people where there have been safeguarding concerns such as potential neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Our designs therefore committed to the creation of a welcoming, neutral and safe space with colour and interaction at its centre.

Creative engagement and interaction provides a sense of control and achievement.

On patient entrance, the main waiting area holds a bright digital art installation. Two further projectors can be found in the exam rooms. These moving images are eye catching, ultimately capturing the imagination and making it easier for young people, caregivers and staff to connect, communicate and foster trust.

The digital installation was the winner of Design Week 2020 Awards for Interaction Design for arts studio Megaverse. The lightbox responds to touch, from which different colours can be selected before moving to the next space. The wall’s pattern is simple enough for young children to play with while allowing for more complex artworks to be created by older children and teenagers.


Originally located in a separate ward block, all facilities have been decanted into a more appropriate location, with improved flexibility of space and patient flow.

Dropped bulkheads and colourful finishes in the flooring denote the different clinical areas whilst bespoke storage solutions maximise space use.

Bright, colourful furnishings complement floral patterns on doors and walls, the result of a collaboration with the Artfelt charity. This creates a continual colour flow throughout, enriching the environment and giving a clear indication as to the department’s purpose.


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