Wednesday 11 October 2017

The National Portrait Gallery is to embark on a major collaboration with London’s children’s hospitals having secured an unprecedented three-year funding allocation from the real estate company Delancey.   

The new funding will enable the Gallery to increase its commitment to access to the arts in London’s children’s hospitals. The only national arts organization to provide on-going, high quality bespoke educational creative arts project at no costs to hospitals, the Gallery’s programme is now entering its fifteenth year. Including eighty creative workshops a year the Gallery works with photographers, writers and artists. For the past five years  the Gallery has created free activity books to provide much-needed creative arts engagement for young people in hospitals, specifically during the school holidays when hospital schools are closed and there is limited provision for young people.  

The books are a free resource given exclusively to young people in hospital when the Gallery is not delivering workshops and during the school year. Young people use the resource on their own, with their families, whilst on the ward and at home. The scale and quality of the books ensure they can be used in many different clinical settings. The project enables young people and their families to access the Gallery’s Collection and helps support health, wellbeing and happiness through participating in the books’ activities and workshops.

Last year the National Portrait Gallery gave 3000 young people in four of London’s children’s hospitals a specially commissioned activity book of portraits and illustrations inspired by their favourite writers such as Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams and Malorie Blackman. The book called My Magical Journeys was launched at Evelina London Children’s Hospital with a workshop given by one of the featured writers poet John Hegley, and the book’s illustrator Lizzy Stewart.

Previous projects in the programme have included Sir Peter Blake working with Evelina Hospital to coincide with the Gallery’s Pop Art Portraits exhibition in 2007, and in 2012 with Great Ormond Street Hospital My Superheros, an activity book by Marion Deuchars featuring portraits of figures from the Gallery’s Collection such as explorer Sir Francis Drake, scientist Michael Faraday and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.  

The next three-year project (2017-20) will continue to provide artist-led creative arts activity for young people in London’s children’s hospitals. Taking inspiration from its Collections, the National Portrait Gallery works in partnership with Evelina London Children’s Hospital; Great Ormond Street Hospital; The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel; and Newham University Hospital.  

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘I am delighted that our partnership with Delancey will ensure the continued support of this unique project that brings works from the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection directly to the children of London’s hospitals.’      

Jamie Ritblat, Founder and CEO of Delancey says:  ‘Delancey is thrilled to be able to continue its support for young people through the initiatives of the National Portrait Gallery with its delivery of this unique and hugely inspirational programme.  When we found out that this initiative – the only children’s hospital arts programme of its kind in the world – was at risk of closure, we didn’t have to think twice about whether to fund it. The work that the Gallery and its staff do to encourage the development of art, visual literacy and communication skills within a hospital environment, and often for those suffering with long-term clinical conditions, is truly humbling. Delancey is proud to play its own small part, particularly given that three of the hospitals are based within London boroughs that we are actively working in – Southwark, Newham and Tower Hamlets. We look forward to seeing the programme go from strength to strength, and inspiring even more children and their families through an understanding and enjoyment of the medium of art.’

Danielle Valdar, Assistant Headteacher, The Children’s Hospital School, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, says: ‘The National Portrait Gallery is central to our school holiday provision. Every half term and throughout the long summer break, patients and their siblings are able to engage with outstanding arts provision delivered by a talented team. They create a safe and welcoming space for children to be creative and immersed in activities that distract them from the goings on of the hospital. The workbooks are used across the hospital with children who are not able to leave their wards and are greatly appreciated by teachers and families alike.’

Andrew Wieland, Hospital Teacher, Barts and The London Children's Hospital School (London East Alternative Provision):This is great news. Students and staff always look forward to the National Portrait Gallery visits. The ability of the artists and facilitators to promote learning through art always impresses. This funding is particularly important at a time when the arts are in danger of being squeezed out of the curriculum.  Sessions are lively, fun and definitely brighten our students’ days.  We look forward to many more sessions.’

Hamera Elahi, Healthcare Play Specialist, Rainbow Ward, Newham University Hospital, says:  ‘We’re always happy to have the National Portrait Gallery here at Newham hospital. The children really get involved in the activities and the artists always give them the theme in such a good way that they are always ready to get started. They bring so much joy and excitement to the hospital for the children which is always a pleasure to see, the children have been involved in the workshops look forward to seeing them again.’

For further Press information, please contact: Neil Evans, Media Relations Manager, National Portrait Gallery: Tel. 020 7 312 2452 (not for publication) / Email [email protected]

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National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place WC2H 0HE, opening hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm) Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am – 9pm  (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm) Nearest Underground: Leicester Square/Charing Cross General information: 0207 306 0055  Recorded information: 020 7312 2463  Website 


Delancey is a specialist real estate investment, development and advisory company whose activities encompass retail, residential and commercial real estate across London and the UK. Collaborating on a wide range of assets, partners and clients, Delancey is recognised for its innovative and diverse approach to creating long term value from real estate. Delancey also advises clients on appropriate capital structures, financing and provides asset management and development services.

Delancey has a diverse portfolio of retail, residential, office and corporate assets across London and the UK, including the Alpha Plus schools group, Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre and 185 Park Street in Southwark and the Royal Mint Court development site in Tower Hamlets.  Delancey is also a pioneer in the private rented sector and has spent much of the last few years bringing the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics to life; it is delivering over 3,000 homes for rent at East Village, the former London 2012 Athletes Village in Newham, and the UKs leading creative and digital hub at Here East - the former Olympic Press and Broadcast Centre.

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