Major renovations which will create a better experience for the young people and families who access Jigsaw, Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice have begun this week. This was made possible with proceeds from the auction of Banksy’s artwork Game Changer which was gifted to Southampton Hospitals Charity in May 2020 during the height of the Covid pandemic.
£499,575 has been donated to the hospice, the only one of its kind in the county, to allow us to undertake this work.
The piece depicts a boy playing with superhero toys, discarding Batman and Spiderman, and instead choosing to play with a masked nurse in a Red Cross uniform. A note accompanied the artwork, saying: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”
Funds are being distributed throughout the UK to benefit a wider community of healthcare providers and charities that work to enhance the care and treatment provided by the NHS.
At Jigsaw, this transformational renovation programme will create a new, specially designed entrance and reception area and see the bedrooms and bathrooms used by the children and young people with life limiting conditions refurbished.
Jenny Wilson, the hospice’s director of clinical services and deputy CEO, said: “The appearance of Banksy’s ‘Game Changer’ was a rare ray of sunshine during the pandemic, celebrating the hard work of the NHS and reminding us of the children growing up in the shadow of Covid-19. It is really fitting that the funding from it is going to support the care of children who use the hospice here in Cumbria.
“This project will create spaces which are welcoming and fit for purpose. It will allow Jigsaw to welcome more children and young people who would benefit from hospice care, work more effectively, and provide better, more dignified and homely care for children and families across Cumbria.
“The bedrooms and bathrooms in Jigsaw are around 16 years old and this funding represents a once in a generation opportunity to make significant improvements. The refreshed building will represent everything Jigsaw offers – a warm and appealing space, full of children’s artwork, happy memories and playful spaces. It’s amazing to think this all happened with a work of art, and we are so grateful to Banksy and of course to Southampton Hospitals Charity for their generosity.”
As well as this donation, a generous pledge from the David Snowdon Trust has been made to fund one of the new, accessible bathrooms.
The plans were drawn up with the collaboration of the children, young people and families supported by Jigsaw and brought to life with the help of Carlisle-based Architects Plus. The renovation work is being carried out by local building firm McKnight.
Julie Clayton, hospice CEO, said: “We are really excited that work is getting underway and ’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped get this project off the ground, from the work put in by hospice staff and contractors, to the ideas put forward by our children, young people and their families.
“We could not start this work without the incredible funding from Southampton Hospitals NHS Charity from the sale of this wonderful Banksy artwork, given so kindly by the artist, nor without the generous support of the David Snowdon Trust. We’re really looking forward to seeing our new-look Jigsaw in a few months.”