At the end of 2018, Sunflower Ward, the neuro-rehabilitation unit at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, re-opened after a refurbishment to improve the environment and space for both families and staff.  

Staff on the newly-refurbished Sunflower WardThe work was funded thanks to the participants in the 2017 Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge, who together raised £119,000, and a donation from Westerleigh Parish Council.

Sunflower Ward is the hospital's only dedicated rehabilitation unit and often patients require a long stay with regular input from a wide team of specialists. A rehab patient's day can be incredibly busy, encompassing speech and language therapy, physio, play occupational therapy, neuropsychology and music therapy sessions. It is important that the environment is comfortable and welcoming so patients can re-charge between treatment. 

Sally and George, who share the sister role on the ward, said: “The improvement for everyone is just fantastic. With limited space we had to be creative and the Estates team and architect did a great job.

“In particular the nurse’s station is a much more effective work space that still allows general oversight of the whole ward.”

Other improvements include the installation of hoists over six beds to allow less mobile patients to be assisted in and out of bed safely, and artificial lights have been installed to give the impression of daylight as well as a dimmer switch to adapt lighting levels at night time. 

Remaining funds used to create new Oasis Garden for children and families

The Oasis Garden is designed to benefit patients who have to stay in the children's hospital for extended periods of time and need a place to relax with their families away from the clinical hospital environment.

Kirsti Watkins, mum to Noah, a patient who inspired staff to start planning the garden, said: “I’m so glad you have this new garden for the children needing to stay in hospital.

“When we were in hospital Noah desperately needed this space to have some fresh air and quiet time. He wasn’t able to access the play centre and other areas due to the severity of his injuries so to have had this space would have been incredible.

“It truly is amazing and I hope all the children get to enjoy the privacy and quiet time that this space offers.”

Briony, semi-finalist in 2018's Great British Bake Off, joined staff and former patients and their families to celebrate the opening of the Oasis Garden shortly before Christmas 2018.


This year’s Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge participants will be able to fundraise for the hospital of their choice. The ride takes place from 11-15 September and registration is open now.