Somerset Training Academy for Health and Social Care
A £19.7 million bid for the Bridgwater and West Somerset Constituency to bring back into use the former Bridgwater Hospital was submitted on 29 July.
The bid focuses on establishing the Somerset Training Academy for Health and Social Care through the regeneration of the at-risk, Grade II listed historic former community hospital, in the centre of Bridgwater. It also seeks to re-purpose a vacant public building in Minehead. The Academy will be central to growing and enhancing the skills of the care sector workforce, addressing the widening labour market gap in this key sector, attracting and retaining staff and strengthening the integration of health and care.
The bid would see the former hospital remodelled, preserving the prominent building frontage and enhancing its contribution to the wider townscape and community identity through active usage. The building will provide high-tech training spaces as well as support innovation and technological advances in the delivery of digital health and care services.
The Academy proposal is supported by a range of partner organisations across local government and health and care providers, including:
- Somerset Council
- Bridgwater Town Council
- Innovate UK
- Public Health Somerset
- Integrated Care System
- Private Sector Care Providers
- Bridgwater and Taunton College and colleges across the county.
Serving the wider rural area of West Somerset, the bid also proposes a satellite academy to be established in Minehead – the main town in the area with its own demographic ageing challenges and concentration of residential care facilities and workforce.
Alongside the Training Academy, a proportion of the funding pot will be allocated as partnership funding towards the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier, a key infrastructure required to protect Bridgwater from the risk of flooding over the next 100 years, including the hospital site.