Mersey Care has successfully teamed up with Hugh Baird College in Liverpool to win a £3.9M grant to transform the former St Winefride’s Roman Catholic Church in Bootle into a state of the art training academy and Life Rooms.
The grant has been awarded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, who have committed nearly £9M to support skills and learning opportunities for communities across Liverpool. The initiative was also supported by metro mayor Steve Rotheram and Sefton Council.
The funds will be used to transform the main church into a training academy, which will include a mezzanine and café area, and will be a base for levels 1-6 health and social care training in partnership with Mersey Care.
A new Life Rooms will be built on the footprint of the current presbytery, which will deliver courses that provide practical life skills and become a community hub. It will also become an educational link to Hugh Baird College and a pathway to possible apprenticeships for the estimated thousands of people that act as young carers without qualifications in the city.
Gary Thorpe, Head of Mersey Care’s Recovery College Development at the Life Rooms, said: “Our partnership with Hugh Baird College is an obvious one because we share common educational goals.
“It first started around 15 months ago when we began talking about helping to support student welfare. This grant will enable us to work together with Hugh Baird College and provide a state of the art training academy with real pathways by providing the skills and training the students need.”
Mersey Care have already established two Life Rooms to great acclaim, firstly restoring the former Walton Library into a stunning community hub and base for the Recovery College, and then another on the site of the former Living Well centre in Southport, which only opened in May.
Both venues are centres for learning, recovery, health and wellbeing and are committed to working with the local community to provide the services people want and need.
Yana Williams, Hugh Baird College Principal and Chief Executive, said: “These are exciting times at Hugh Baird College and we’re delighted to be working in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust on this important redevelopment project.
“I’d like to thank the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for supporting the project and applaud them for recognising the importance of promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.
“This project doesn’t just benefit the students of Hugh Baird College. It has a far wider reach. The new centre will provide a community resource that is open to all who feel ready to take those important first steps to wellbeing.
“The redevelopment of the St Winefride’s Roman Catholic Church will also bring back to life an important community venue and will provide vital life changing services and welcoming shared spaces.”