The Trust’s first objective was to purchase the old Fleetwood Hospital, closed as a bedded hospital by the NHS in 2009, and develop it to provide much-needed support and community-based services for the people of Fleetwood.
Why Fleetwood Hospital?
The hospital is situated is Pharos Ward, an area of neglected and derelict buildings that lead to deprivation as aspirations stagnate. The empty main wards of the hospital had not been maintained for many years and there were leaks in the roof creating damage through all 3 floors with grass growing in the top floor wards. Repairing and re-purposing the hospital was an opportunity to bring life back to this end of the town. The Trust's objective is to provide community-based services and support and an intermediate care ward, the hospital is ideal for the purpose. The building is large and extends to 3 floors. It has 60,000 square feet of floor space of which 15,000 square feet is the Outpatient’s Department.
All ideas for the community hub originate from discussion with local people and The Trust's strategy to ensure that the whole community is involved throughout the development of the building, putting people at the heart of this project. The Trust is also looking for active partners to manage the provision of services. The priorities are for spaces which support activities for health and wellbeing, community support functions, business enterprise, creative skills, food support through a community café and teaching kitchen.
Most importantly the space will provide access for all to promote social inclusion and enabling self-worth amongst the whole spectrum of community users. The Trust want this building to be an exemplar and a place for the people of Fleetwood to be proud of!
The Story So Far ...
November 2018 - The Trust was successful in raising £812,500 from local anonymous donors and the freehold of the whole building and the site was purchased for £575,000 from the NHS. The existing Outpatients Department operating from the building was retained by the NHS, becoming the Trust’s tenant on a 10-year lease.
December 2018 - The Trust was honoured when Fleetwood Hospital was chosen as one of 7 projects to celebrate the 70th birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales, his choice for the north-west. The project is supported by The Prince’s Foundation, working on the design of the ground floor space (22,000sq feet) which will form a community hub.
January 2019 - Work begins to ensure all areas of the building are secure and watertight to allow for the programme of refurbishment. Damaged areas of the roof begin to be replaced along with the appropriate netting which prevents birds from nesting on the building, a nuisance to the neighborhood and a hazard to themselves.
September 2019 - The Trust has completed the installation of 162 replacement windows with the support of the community through a successful fund-raising campaign. The strategy is to have an energy-efficient building and to achieve that the new roof and windows are well insulated and 30Kwp of lightweight solar panels have been installed on the new roof. 60Kwh of batteries will be added soon.
January 2020 - Work begins to convert the space at the Pharos Street and North Albert Street corner of the ground floor into The Pantry. This will be a purpose-built suite of rooms and a shop as the new home for the Fleetwood foodbank and The Mustard Seed. Fleetwood Trust will fund and project manage the works and hand over to Faith in the Community for operation from Summer 2020.
March 2020 - Due to the restructions imposed during the COVID-19 lockdown work is suspended, restarting again at the end of May 2020. It is anticipated the handover of The Pantry will now be late July.
June 2020 - Fleetwood Trust appoints Charley Wilkinson as CEO to lead day-to-day operations and project manage the development of the community hub at Fleetwood hospital. Read more about Charley here.
October 2020 - Fleetwood Foodbank and the Mustard Seed combined to form Faith In The Community, opening The Pantry to distribute food to individuals and families in need. Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre Volunteer Centre have take space to host community activities - paused during the lockdown, resuming again in April 2021.
November 2020 - Planning permission for mixed-use community spaces on the ground floor, entrances and external space is submitted in association with The Princes Foundation ...
... March 2021 - Planning permission is approved by Wyre Council.
The Vision For Fleetwood Hospital
Fleetwood Trust is committed to listening to and responding to the needs of the community throughout the planning, redevelopment and operational phases of the project. Among the aspects being considered and likely to form part of the completed project are provision for:
32 Bed Intermediate Care Ward operated by the NHS – patients leaving Victoria Hospital but not well enough to go home
Community Kitchen and Dining space – Meals, Food Bank, Cooking Lessons etc
Community Space – where all are welcome simply to be and connect with others in the community.
Quiet Space / Chapel / Reading Rooms
Job Seeking Support – CV, Interview skills, clothes supply, showers
Financial Support – Benefits, Budgeting, Mortgages, Debt etc
Life Skills – DIY, Landlords / Leases etc
Activity Space – Gym, Art, Dance, Yoga, Games etc
Meeting Rooms – for many purposes to assist people or where any organisation can meet
Business Incubator- where entrepreneurs in the town can develop and establish new businesses that will create jobs