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Patients and staff work together to meet spiritual needs

The Quiet SpaceAn artist specialising in stained glass has put the finishing touches to a stunning new room being designed and built at The Retreat in York.

‘The Quiet Space’ as it has been named, is a room that has been designed by patients and staff at The Retreat to provide a unique place for all people to enjoy.

It has been the inspiration of a working group of patients and staff at The Retreat, consulting together on the design, colour schemes, lighting and furnishings as part of a year-long project.

The Retreat is a specialist mental health provider, working with the NHS to provide care for people with complex and challenging needs.

Annie Borthwick, Lay Chaplain, and spokesperson for the working group, said: “It is our core philosophy here at The Retreat that a person is far more than the sum of their mind and body – we all have ‘that of God’ within us, whatever way we might choose to understand that. 

“We’ve always known at The Retreat how important the external environment can be to our sense of self and wellbeing, and although the building itself is very beautiful, we have never had a particular space set aside for contemplation and quietness. With this in mind, we have created a place where people can, we hope, find their own internal beauty of spirit.

“We looked at examples of faith rooms around the country as part of the project, but we realised that we needed something a little bit different to reflect our Quaker-based ethos.

“We wanted it to be simple and neutral, but beautiful and comforting - using colour and light - and we intend for it to be open to anyone at anytime,” said Annie.

Quaker artist Alan Wright has created a beautiful stained glass window especially for the new room in an abstract design to reflect the harmony of the mind, body and spirit.

“The window is symbolic, really.  To us it emphasises that this is not a clinical space, but rather a place where the innate wholeness of a person can be expressed, without judgement or classification,” said Annie.

The room will also be used on a regular basis for Quaker Meetings for Worship, non-denominational Christian services, and Holy Communion, as well as being available at any time for people of any other faith to come and worship. The room is well resourced with all the major faith scriptures, and other inspirational books and music.

“We can hardly wait for the Quiet Space to come into its own, and for patients, staff and visitors to enjoy the peace we hope it will bring,” said Annie.