Construction complete at the Snapdragons Centre in Strood

by Freja Cooper

A multi-million pound project to create a new children and young people’s health and wellbeing centre reached its latest milestone this week as the building was handed over to the NHS by developers.

Owner NHS Property Services was given the keys to the new Child Development Centre on the site of the former Temple School, Strood, in Medway on Monday, 14 August.

The project, which involved completely transforming the interior of the old school building, is driven by Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Property Services and local partners.

It will be called The Snapdragons Centre after the name was chosen by service-users and local partners as part of an engagement programme led by Medway Community Healthcare.

The new facility will provide a much-needed centre for local children and young people to access community healthcare services delivered by Medway Community Healthcare (MCH), Medway Council and Medway Foundation NHS Trust.

NHS Property Services funded the purchase of the building from Medway Council and its conversion by contractors EPCO Building at a total project cost of £3.1m.

Catherine Webster, Senior Construction Manager at NHS Property Services, said: “It’s very exciting to have the keys to this superb new facility. We’d like to thank all our partners for their hard work on this project, which has been delivered to a high specification and standard and will make a real difference to so many young people and their families.”

The project will bring together specialist clinical services for children and young people with a range of disabilities into a purpose-built facility. The next phase will see equipment and furniture installed and services transferred ready for the centre to open its doors in the autumn.

Cllr Andrew Mackness, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, welcomed the handover. “I am pleased this important project is now complete and look forward to seeing the centre welcome children and their families. The centre is going to be invaluable to the community, a place dedicated to the development of children, offering the very best care,” he said.

Caroline Selkirk, Accountable Officer at Medway CCG, said: “We’re really pleased with the way NHS Property Services has delivered this important new building.

“When fully operational later this year it will help improve access and support to health services for children and young people. By working closely with our partners and making the best use of available resources, Medway will soon have a new centre that delivers for our community.”

The transformation work, which began in August 2016, has been completed to schedule and has seen the existing building refurbished to provide modern, spacious clinical facilities, reception and waiting area, consulting rooms, plaster and weighing rooms, a nursery and soft play and sensory facilities.

Local children and young people will also be able to access speech and language support, physiotherapy, with observation suites and secure external play areas.

MCH’s charity, Medway Cares, provided the funding for a fully adapted swing in the play area.

Carole Campbell, Head of Children’s Strategy for Medway Community Healthcare, added: “We are very excited to have this fabulous building to bring together services for disabled children. Medway parents and carers forum will be joining us on site and we look forward to working with them to support our families in Medway.”

Karen Mcintyre, Co-director of Clinical Operations (Families and Clinical Support Services Directorate) at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are thrilled at the completion of the new centre.

“The centre will see hospital and other care professionals working side-by-side in a facility specially designed to provide integrated care to meet the multiple healthcare needs of young patients, and families, with exceptional quality and efficiency.

“It will improve the way we deliver our care and the overall experience for both our patients, their families and/or carers – a brilliant and much needed step in the right direction for all.”

Lucy East, Project Manager for EPCO Building, added: “We are delighted to have completed the renovation of the former school, which just a year ago was an unused and derelict building, and we are very proud of our involvement in the construction and design of the scheme.

“We hope the new Snapdragon Centre will assist the lives of children and their families who use the building.”