TV presenter and property expert Sarah Beeny joined Yeovil Hospital staff and others on Thursday for the opening of the hospital’s new apartment complex, designed and built to provide homes to frontline staff.
The star of Channel 4’s New Life in the Country cut the ribbon to officially open the complex alongside hospital Chief Executive Jonathan Higman, with Yeovil Mayor Cllr Evie Potts-Jones and representatives of Prime and contractor Speller Metcalfe.
The apartments were purpose-built for staff at Yeovil Hospital and have been designed to create a community environment with communal areas where residents can socialise and study. A total of 176 bedrooms across 66 apartments are available for staff and students to rent. The apartments are all light and spacious and can cater for families as well as individuals and couples.
The building work has been funded and delivered through Yeovil Hospital’s strategic estates partnership with Prime, who have developed the project. The apartments were funded by Canada Life and built by Speller Metcalfe. The joint venture between the Trust and Prime has delivered several key projects within the hospital including the hospital’s multi-storey car park and link road, an Emergency Assessment Unit, main entrance refurbishment and an extension to the special care baby unit.
Jonathan Higman, Chief Executive of the Yeovil Hospital NHS Trust said: “We are so proud to be able to offer our staff and students modern, comfortable accommodation, which has the added benefit of being just a five-minute walk from the hospital. Many of these staff have worked on the frontline of our hospital’s pandemic response during the last year so it is important they are able to enjoy a secure and relaxing environment away from the hospital.
“These apartments will also help us to recruit and retain new clinical staff, including some of those joining our team from overseas.
“We are very proud of this achievement and pleased to have already welcomed many staff into their new homes and will continue to welcome future staff members.”
Leighton Chumbley, Chief Executive, Prime said: “We’re delighted to see residents moving into this incredibly important key worker accommodation complex. This is a much-needed scheme, which will not only improve the lives of the hardworking and dedicated NHS staff and students who work at the hospital, but it will also breathe new life into Yeovil town centre. We are honoured to share this occasion with Yeovil Hospital NHS Trust and Speller Metcalfe who have been integral in the successful completion of the project.”
Mark Hudgeon, Regional Director, Speller Metcalfe, said: “This scheme has been a significant milestone for the project team who have worked extremely hard to ensure continuity in the delivery of the construction phase for the NHS during the pandemic.
“We are delighted to see the apartments open, which will know will help to create flexibility, respite and easy access for Yeovil’s frontline workers who continue to work tirelessly to support the Somerset community.”
Sarah Beeny, TV presenter said: “It was a pleasure to join some of the Yeovil Hospital team today to celebrate the opening of their impressive apartment complex for staff.
“This is a really forward-thinking move on the hospital’s part, investing such energy into the wellbeing of colleagues. It’s clear it will play a significant role in helping the hospital recruit and retain staff, after what has been such a trying and challenging time for the NHS.”