The Rivers Centre at Hellesdon Hospital

All the latest about our multi-million pound Rivers Centre plans

Hellesdon Rivers Centre

Following approval of the full business case, and completion of the enabling works on site, NSFT has started the main construction programme of an exciting multi-million pound project to further improve safety and quality at the Hellesdon Hospital site in Norwich.

The Rivers Centre designs have developed with the help of our service users, carers and staff.

The scheme will result in 48 ensuite bedrooms across three new wards. At the same time, the design team are looking at how we can incorporate our current buildings and structures into the new-look campus to help us make the best use of the funding available, while also reducing its environmental impact. As a result, we are planning to repurpose some of our buildings into new offices and therapy areas. We will also be refurbishing existing wards to create a further two refurbished inpatient units. This takes the total number of beds we are able to offer at the Norwich site to 80 by the end of summer 2024 and will see an extra 15 beds for the Trust.

We are planning for four of the five wards to be single gender accommodation to improve safety, dignity and privacy of those we care for who are most unwell, in line with government guidance. The only mixed gender ward will be the longer stay Kestrel Ward.

In the final scheme, our existing wards will be linked to the new build by a welcoming central hub. This will be carefully designed to promote a feeling of community. This central area will house a main reception, café, fresh cook kitchen and tribunal facility and will be the ‘heart’ of the development.

Another important element of the scheme will be the outside space. The designs make full use of the natural environment at our Hellesdon site with the aim of providing a haven where both patients and staff can relax away from our clinical areas. We hope that this will have a positive impact on everyone’s wellbeing, while also playing an important role in our service users’ recovery.

We have been listening carefully to our service users, staff and stakeholders as these concepts have been developed which has been essential in helping to shape these designs. 

We have updated our Frequently Asked Questions which are provided on the right-hand side of this page along with the latest plans. 

The next opportunity to get involved will be a series of workshops run by Hospital Rooms to inform the design of 15 pieces of art for the campus. You can find more information on the right-hand side of this page.

For more information, printed versions of this information or details of how to get involved in this project, please email:

Watch a video of our work so far

Hospital Rooms

Sign up to our Hospital rooms art workshop sessions here.

From 2023 until summer 2024, the arts and mental health charity, Hospital Rooms, will collaborate with us to bring museum quality artworks and creative activities for people using our services.

Service users, staff, carers and families will have the opportunity to take part in art workshops that will inform artworks being created for the communal areas for both new buildings and existing wards. Hospital Rooms has programmed 70 artist-led sessions across the inpatient wards at Hellesdon Hospital as well as partners venues at Norwich University of the Arts, Sainsbury Centre and Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery for community members who have used inpatient mental health services. The conversations and work made in these workshops is an integral part of the co-production process for the fifteen ambitious artworks made specifically for the people at Hellesdon Hospital.

Workshops led by artists at the Sainsbury Centre will be inspired by an item selected from the museum’s extensive collection. Other workshops hosted at Norwich University of the Arts and Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery will also use their resources and facilities and the sessions will go on to inform the artwork the artists create for the hospital. These workshops are free and open to anyone who has used inpatient mental health services.

The project is also informed by a research collaboration with a Lived Experience Team that works with the NSFT Recovery College, NSFT People Participation Team, Norwich University of the Arts and Hospital Rooms to consult on best practice and develop an evaluation framework for the project.

The diverse and internationally acclaimed artists commissioned for the fifteen artworks on the project include: Alan Kane, Dolly Sen, Errol Francis, Fabian Peake, Ghislaine Leung, Heather Phillipson, Holly Sandiford, Jade Montserrat, Ken Nwadiogbu, Mark Titchner, Michael Landy, Nengi Omuku, Sarah Dwyer and Sola Olulode.

The project is supported by partners without whom it would not be possible. We are very grateful to: Arts Council England, COAT Paints, Hauser & Wirth, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Norwich University of the Arts and Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Queen’s and Sainsbury Centre.

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