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Gloucestershire Business News

Plans for new arts, health and wellbeing centre at City Campus revealed

A new arts, health and wellbeing centre, which will pilot groundbreaking therapies and interventions to improve community health and wellbeing is being planned for University of Gloucestershire's new City Campus.

At the heart of this partnership project between One Gloucestershire Integrated Care System and the University is The Store. This will be a centre of excellence for new technologies and innovation, aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people in the county and complementing the care provided by NHS health and social care partners.

With the university also in advanced discussions with Gloucestershire County Council about City Campus being the home to the new county library, the ambitious redevelopment of the former Debenhams store will see this much-loved building brought back to life.

It will become a modern centre for teaching, learning and partnerships, delivering wide-ranging services to the local community and acting as a catalyst for the city's regeneration.

Situated on the first floor of City Campus, The Store will include specialist facilities and equipment which can support teaching and social prescribing use, such as arts-based therapy and rehabilitation, informed by research and health-tech innovation.

Services will help to meet the complex health and social care needs of people in Gloucestershire through:

• Supporting people to keep healthy and look after themselves when they can

• Making the most of new technologies and delivering intervention-based projects that improve outcomes and quality of care

• Pioneering research which will support practice innovation and improvement, and application of the latest health technologies

• Providing the health workforce in Gloucestershire with exceptional learning and training opportunities.

Mary Hutton, chief executive of NHS Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board (NHS Gloucestershire), said: "We are thrilled to be involved in this truly pioneering initiative that highlights what can be achieved when partners share a passion and drive for improving health, wellbeing and care through innovation, collaboration and creative thinking.

"Not only will the centre help to push the boundaries in new approaches to supporting people and communities to keep healthy and well, it represents a further huge boost to the work already being done to strengthen the health and care workforce in Gloucestershire for the future, through unrivalled learning and training opportunities."

The wider partnership project will also see the university provide continuous professional development (CPD) to support recruitment, retention and upskilling of the NHS workforce and share best practice.

Lorraine Dixon, head of School for Health and Social Care at University of Gloucestershire, said: "We expect The Store to draw together great minds from practice, academia, research and experts by experience.

"Its services will complement and connect with other successful social prescribing models already running in the county. It will provide a less clinical environment in which to engage with practitioners, which is particularly important in engaging vulnerable communities."

Stephen Marston, vice-chancellor of University of Gloucestershire, said: "City Campus is a fundamental part of the university's mission as the community's university. It is a great example of what we can achieve working with partners for the benefit of our city, our county and our region.

"Our vision for the City Campus is that it is not just going to be a brilliant environment for our students and staff. At the heart of the city, it will also be a place that is open and accessible to the public, providing services people need.

"It will bring together health professionals, academics, students and researchers. Together they will develop professional skills and training for the future workforce. They will research how practice can be improved and how new technologies can be applied."

The first staff and students - mainly from the School of Health and Social Care - are set to begin using the new teaching facilities during the academic year 2023-24.

Construction work is scheduled to begin on site in summer 2022, with investigation, enabling and strip-out works already well underway.

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