YOUNG patients retreated into the world of imagination as they tackled a therapeutic art project at the Great Western Hospital.

Children and teenagers cared for at the hospital collaborated on a mural at the hospital with the help of Cowshedstudio founder and artist Sue Green on Monday and Tuesday.

The two-day programme, which saw them weave and print colourful patterns onto fabric, was designed to allow them to unleash their creativity and provide them with a welcome escape from their treatment.

“I think projects like these are very important for children,” said Sue, who was selected to decorate the new children’s emergency department earlier this year based on young pupils’ original designs.

“It gives the youngsters some creative time to get their hands messy and just take time out to do something different – it’s a tremendous distraction.

“They can focus on something else. It’s very therapeutic and they do it together so it’s a bit of teamwork and also a great opportunity to make friends while they are here.

“The mural is more than just a piece of art, it also has a practical use: It’s going to be used as a noticeboard to pin things on it.

“So it’s a small idea that makes such a big difference to the young patients while they are working on it, and it will also allow for a space to share information.”

Andrea Honey, an afternoon teacher at GWH for young patients unable to attend mainstream school, said creative activities were the ideal way to take their mind off of their conditions or hospital care.

“We have got one-off projects like these which benefit our school and the whole ward,” she said.

“It’s fantastic therapy for the pupils. It takes their minds off the treatment and gives them a nice bit of relaxation time while they are in hospital.”

Anya, 11, who receives schooling from GWH teachers, was one of the first to tackle the textile artwork.

“I love art and it’s been a lot of fun,” she said.

“It’s good practice for the future. I would like to do more things like this.

“I have psychosomatic seizures and it makes me very tired in the morning so I can’t get to school most days.

“I come here in the afternoon and the teachers here are really nice.”