Every year over 300,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK. They face tough questions, exhausting treatment and difficult emotions, affecting not only them but their family and friends too. Located in the grounds of specialist NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie's Centres are designed to be friendly, inviting spaces for everyone, offering free practical, emotional and social support from qualified experts. Maggie's support programme has been shown to strengthen physical and emotional wellbeing.
To raise awareness of the vital work of the cancer charity, Maggie's and Newcastle-based NBS has devised an architectural design contest - Make Maggie's Yours. The contest, to design a hypothetical new Maggie's Centre, was launched at our Maggie's Centre in Newcastle on 1st October, where Ted Cullinan was on hand to declare the competition open for entries. Students and professionals are being invited to enter the competition to share their ideas for what a new Maggie's Centre might look like. The winners will be announced in early December.
Karen Verrill, centre head at Maggie's Newcastle says,
"Maggie's is an incredible place. Everything has been carefully crafted to make you feel calm and uplifted. We know cancer can be incredibly stressful and life-changing. Our unique approach is three-fold. We have a beautiful building and gardens where people can escape the hospital. We also have a team of in-house experts that offer cancer support, counselling and benefits advice. Plus a weekly programme of support groups, workshops and activities such as mindfulness and tai chi, that have been shown to help people feel more in control and less isolated.
"The architectural design of our centres has always been an integral part of their appeal to our users and how much they get out of what we offer.
"It's going to be exciting to see the way the two groups will interpret the design brief - we can't wait to see and hear their ideas."
We designed Maggie's Newcastle to connect people with nature. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and increase wellbeing. Maggie's Newcastle is surrounded by grassy earth banks, planted with flowering perennials and herbs. These banks extend beyond the building to create a sheltered, south-facing courtyard, on to which open a series of calm, light-filled internal spaces - some communal, some private.
Ted Cullinan, architect for Maggie's Newcastle says.
"This theoretical Maggie's brief is a wonderful opportunity for a designer to propose meaningful spaces that are much more about feeling than simple space requirements. I'm really looking forward to reviewing the entries!"