Wheelchair World Cup rugby star Rob Hawkins opens our new children’s community health hub in Elland

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Yesterday, Halifax Panthers’ star and Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup winner, Rob Hawkins, cut the ribbon at the new Rainbow Community Hub healthcare centre in Elland, part of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT).

The Rainbow Hub, based in the Clock House, on the Rosemount Estate, Elland, is a purpose-designed facility for local children from across Calderdale and Huddersfield with complex care conditions. It is the new home of the Rainbow Child Development Unit, previously located at Calderdale Royal Hospital.  

The centre provides clinics, therapies and treatments and is also the base for nursing teams specialising in children’s community, diabetes and epilepsy care, bringing services together under one roof.

The facility includes the very latest technology, funded partly through the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Charity, including a state-of-the-art sensory room, moving ‘floorscapes’ in reception, which change to touch, and moving ‘ceilingscapes’ in treatment rooms, on which parents can upload family videos from their phones for children to watch.

There is also a large soft play area with indoor swing and a changing places area with an accessible shower and changing facilities.

Families who helped with the design and sponsored events were among the special guests on the day.

Panthers’ star and Halifax-born Rob was last season’s Super League Wheelchair Player of the Year after scoring five tries when Halifax beat Leeds to win the Super League - and he won the World Cup with England in Manchester last year, beating France in a thrilling final.

He has chronic fatigue syndrome, which once left him barely able to walk for longer than 15 minutes. But, following the diagnosis by doctors at CHFT in 2014, his recovery – enhanced by rugby league – has been astonishing.

Rob said: “I have had a great 12 months in rugby league and being invited to open the Rainbow Community Hub is really special for me. It’s always good to give back.

“It is amazing to see how technology has proved to be able to help a lot of families and children alongside the amazing doctors and nurses here. I have had a lot achievements recently and being invited here today is one of the best.”

Patient Andrew Greenwood had been involved in the design process from the start, working with clinicians and architects. He said: “It has evolved with us and to see it come to life is just amazing.”

His mother, Joanne, said: “Coming here for an appointment for care is fun, too. It is not connected to the hospital, so it reduces the stress of coming in. It's not as hectic.”

The Hub’s Clinical Nurse Manager, Katie Booth, said: “Having Rob here with us makes today even more special. He is such an inspiration. We are very proud of everything this amazing facility has to offer and feedback from our families, who helped to design it with us, has been terrific."  

The opening of the new facility is this one of the first stages of wider plans to transform hospital services and improve patient care and experience across Calderdale and Huddersfield. The location of the former centre will become part of new clinical buildings when the site at Calderdale Royal is developed as part of the Trust’s £200million hospital reconfiguration programme.

A video tour of the facilities has also been released, through the eyes (and voice) of a child. 

A collage of pictures from the opening showing Rob Hawkins, colleagues and guests