The Alder Centre was established in 1989 by a small group of health care professionals in partnership with bereaved parents who identified a gap in the services available. The Centre is unique within the NHS and internationally; providing bereavement counselling for families who have had a child pass away as well as a national telephone helpline and general counselling for hospital staff.

A series of rooms configured like a big house, set inside a secret garden can be a familiar place for parents to meet, talk, grow things and have a cup of tea. The architecture is easy to use and simple to understand, informed by a conversational process with the counsellors, users and bereaved parents. The building is arranged with a large communal space in the centre that is ‘the heart’ with a lounge and kitchen from which seven counselling rooms unfold, each with their own private garden. There is a flexible training room, office and dedicated room for the ‘Child death helpline’ where volunteers answer phone calls from parents to a national helpline.

The simple layout of the building is analysed with sophisticated environmental modelling software and includes sustainable technologies. Windows and skylights are sized so that diffuse light illuminates counselling rooms; temperatures are controlled by ground source heating which uses the earth’s core to temper spaces; and opening vents in the walls and at the top of pitched roofs drive natural ventilation to give each of the rooms plenty of fresh air. Healthy materials like brick walls and exposed timber ceilings further add to well-being.

  • 2021 European Healthcare Design Award
  • 2022 Civic Trust Awards, Highly Commended
  • 2022 AIA UK Excellence in Design Award
  • 2022 Building Better Healthcare Award Interior Design Project (New Build)
  • 2022 Building Better Healthcare Award Best Healthcare Development (UK, under £10m)
  • 2022 Brick Award, Public Category
  • 2022 WAF Award Completed Buildings: Health category

  • 2019 Summer Exhibition

RIBA North West Region Award Shortlist 22.02.24

The Plan Awards 2023 Shortlist 08.08.23

Architizer A+Awards 2023 Finalist 03.05.23

Brick Awards 2022 11.11.22

Building Better Healthcare Awards 2022 02.11.22

WAF Awards shortlist 2022 11.07.22

The Alder Centre wins AIA UK Excellence in Design Award 2022 13.05.22

The Alder Centre shortlisted for the AIA UK Excellence in Design Awards 2022 09.05.22

CIVIC TRUST AWARDS 2022 08.03.22

Building and British Homes Awards shortlists 07.09.21

AJ Architecture Awards 2021 shortlists announced 24.08.21

Awards update 19.07.21

European Healthcare Design Award for the Alder Centre 18.06.21

Celebrating the Alder Centre 12.09.19

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2019 21.05.19

AHMM at the World Architecture Festival 2018 03.12.18

The Alder Centre wins WAFX category prize 09.10.18

The Alder Centre Cycle Classic 13.06.18

Planning granted for the Alder Centre 23.02.18

AHMM to design new Alder Centre for Bereavement Counselling 04.08.17