18 December 2018

Mersey Care and Hugh Baird College form unique partnership to transform lives

A former church site has been transformed into a state of the art health, social care and mental health training academy and Life Rooms – in a partnership between Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and Hugh Baird College.

A £3.9 million Local Growth Fund grant has seen the former St Winefride’s Roman Catholic Church in Bootle, regenerated into a facility that will benefit both students and the local community.

The main church is now a training hub, featuring a mezzanine and café area and will be a base for levels 1-6 health, social care and mental health training, in partnership with Mersey Care.

A new Life Rooms, built on the site of the former presbytery, opened its doors in January 2019. It will become a community hub as it delivers courses that provide life skills and mental wellbeing, as well as a welcoming space for people to gather.

Mersey Care’s chief executive Joe Rafferty said: “This is one of the most important developments Mersey Care is undertaking. There’s much talk about the need for prevention of ill health, be it mental or physical, and as often as not a debilitating combination of both.

“For young people, this can affect their educational attainment, their relationships and, therefore, their overall life chances. The success of our two other Life Rooms sites has shown it is a socially affirming model that can provide real support at a crucial time in students’ lives.”

Hugh Baird College’s Yana Williams said: “Our excellent collaboration with Mersey Care and other local Foundation Trusts will not only enable more of our students to gain good quality jobs locally, it will ensure our students, particularly those aged between 14 and 18 years of age, have their mental health and wellbeing needs addressing fully. Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our young people is a key national priority and the new campus is an excellent example of how this should be done.

“The College is also proud to be leading on a project that will regenerate a key landmark for the benefit of our local population and we are delighted that St Winefride’s Campus will support both our students and the local community to improve their life chances.”