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Turf Cutting ceremony marks the start of new build

To mark the start of the major building works for the RNHRD and Therapies Centre, an official turf cutting ceremony was held today at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath NHS Foundation Trust.

The RNHRD and Therapies Centre, costing c£16m to build, will house many of the services currently located at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) and in the RUH, namely rheumatology, therapies and pain management services.

Benefactors Andrew and Christina Brownsword have pledged up to £1m to match every pound donated to the Forever Friends Appeal £2m campaign towards the cost of the new building. Today they made the first cut into the ground with David Snell, Operations Manager from Kier Construction, Brian Stables, Trust Chairman, and Ed Jackson, rugby star and ambassador for the Forever Friends Therapies campaign, to get construction work underway.

Andrew Brownsword said:

“Seeing this building work commence is a special moment. My family and I are delighted to be supporting this important project which will benefit so many people in our local community. We hope our gift of £1m towards the Centre will provide the best care for patients and will encourage others who are in a position to give, to support this wonderful hospital too.”

Other donors including representatives from Santander, who have chosen the Appeal as their charity of the year, Bath Rugby players and staff from Kier Construction joined RUH staff at the turf cutting ceremony.

Turf Cutting with RUH FFA hoardings

Brian Stables, Trust Chairman, RUH said:

“The start of the construction work marks a key milestone for the Trust. This building will make a major impact on the services the hospital can provide to some 25,000 people each year. It has been designed in conjunction with patients, staff and architects, and will include a large hydrotherapy pool, a specialist gym and rehabilitation equipment, and a biologics treatment space to support treatment, recovery, wellbeing and the management of long-term conditions.

“It’s an amazingly generous gesture made by the Brownsword Charitable Foundation and we would very much welcome help from the public to achieve our target of raising £2m.”

The RNHRD and Therapies Centre is being built close to the main entrance of the RUH and will be predominately an outpatient centre providing treatment, care and education for patients to recover from episodes of illness or injury, or to manage their long-term condition.

Ed Jackson, former Bath rugby player said:

“As a spinal injury patient, I have learned just how important the environment is to wellbeing and recovery, having spent so much time lying down and staring at the ceiling, and unable to leave the hospital setting. Therapeutic environments, calming surroundings and mental stimulation are hugely beneficial. Staff at the RUH do an amazing job, and I believe that they should be supported by working in the right environments to help them to deliver the best level of care too.

We need the public’s support to help raise the funds needed to build this innovative and therapeutic new centre. If you can support the campaign, please visit the Appeal’s website to find out more.”

David Snell, Operations Manager, Kier Construction said:

“We’re delighted to be working with the Trust on such a unique building which will serve people of all ages and needs.

“You won’t see much for the next few months with all the work being concentrated at ground level and the building’s foundations. But after the New Year you’ll see some big changes as the walls start to go up. That’s when you’ll see the new Centre is very much a reality.”

 Once building work is completed on the RNHRD and Therapies Centre and services moved, the construction of the new Cancer Centre will begin which is part of the major redevelopment programme to make the RUH fit for the future.

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