Construction work continues at Pears Maudsley Centre in London
The construction of a new centre providing world-class research and mental health services for children and young people in London and beyond has reached a significant milestone, with a celebratory ‘topping out’ ceremony attended by young people who helped design the building.
The event marks the completion of the construction of the frame of the £65m Pears Maudsley Centre, partly funded by an ambitious fundraising campaign to address the urgent demand for mental health provision for children and young people.
The centre is being built by Integrated Health Projects, an alliance between VINCI Construction UK and Sir Robert McAlpine.
Due to open in Denmark Hill in 2023, the centre is the result of a ‘bench to bedside’ partnership between South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London, and the Maudsley Charity, which aims to transform child and adolescent mental health care through a unique collaboration between world-leading academics and clinicians, significantly speed up the time taken to bring research breakthroughs into clinical pathways.
The event included ceremonial pouring of concrete to complete the roof of the eight-storey building and the placement of an evergreen bough – a tradition which dates back to Roman times, when tree boughs were used to protect buildings from evil spirits and bring in blessings from the tree spirits.
Exemplar collaboration, innovation, and expertise have been at the heart of this project, and we look forward to delivering a world-leading facility for the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people
Trust chairman, Sir Norman Lamb, said: “It is fantastic to see this unique building taking shape, giving an insight into the life-changing facility it is going to become.
“The centre will support our local south London community, which has some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country, together with specialist national children’s mental health services that are available to everyone in England.”
The centre will be home to clinicians and academics in the field of children and young people’s mental health from the trust and from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), as well as the outstanding Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School and young inpatients.
The topping-out ceremony marked the completion of the main frame of the building
It will provide treatment to young people with a range of conditions, from eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder, to anxiety, ADHD, autism, and trauma.
President and principal of King’s College London, Professor Shitij Kapur, said: “There is no other centre like this in the world.
“Bringing together King’s College London’s world-class researchers in mental health with clinical expertise will enable us to find solutions together and change the landscape for children’s mental health.
“This will benefit our communities locally and nationally and lead to sharing best practice across the world, influencing global policy and mental health outcomes.”
Young patients and their families, as well as researchers and clinicians, were involved in designing the centre, which features connections with nature as a key aspect through landscaped outdoor terraces and extensive planting on each of the building’s eight floors.
Stephen Bannon, project director at Integrated Health Projects, said: “We are proud to celebrate this key milestone in the construction of the Pears Maudsley Centre in the presence of children who have helped design the building.
“Exemplar collaboration, innovation, and expertise have been at the heart of this project, and we look forward to delivering a world-leading facility for the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.”