Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust opens a state of the art Children’s Centre in the heart of St Albans

Posted: July 7 2021

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust opens a state of the art Children’s Centre in the heart of St Albans

Local families in Hertfordshire can now benefit from Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT)’s new state of the art Children’s Centre located within the St Alban Civic Centre’s Health and Wellbeing Centre. This new facility, which opened its doors on 1 July 2021, is the result of HCT, St Albans City and District Council and many other local organisations consulting with local residents and collaborating to provide the best possible health and wellbeing care to the next generation.

Elliot Howard-Jones, HCT Chief Executive said: “This new Children’s Centre has come to fruition thanks to the strong partnership we have with St Albans City and District Council. We share an ambition of wanting every local child to receive the health and wellbeing care they need to have the best start in life. I would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and tenacity that has meant we have opened our doors on schedule, despite the unexpected challenges brought on by the global pandemic. The specialist services provided here are playing a crucial part in helping our children, young people and their families get back on track after such a tumultuous year.”

St Albans City and District Councillor Robert Donald, Chair of the District’s Health and Wellbeing Partnership, said: “We are delighted that HCT’s new Children’s Centre will be sharing our offices which have become a model for partnership working. We are already host to another NHS facility, St Albans Police and numerous voluntary and community groups have a presence in our Healthy Hub. Together, we are working under the one roof to provide the District with many essential public services. I’ve been campaigning for many years for our offices to become a one-stop advice and help centre for the District. By centralising these services in the City Centre both the general public and the Council benefit. It is great to see that vision come into effect.  Our residents are grateful to the NHS for keeping them safe during the pandemic and will be pleased that we are supporting their work in this way.”

The HCT Services that have moved in to the Health and Wellbeing Centre include Children’s Speech and Language Therapy, Children’s Physiotherapy, Children’s Occupational Therapy, Community Paediatrics, Children’s Eye Service, PALMS (Positive behaviour, Autism, Learning Disability and Mental health Service) and Children’s Nursing Services. These HCT services no longer operate from their former St Albans home in Church Crescent and all appointments now take place at the Health and Wellbeing Centre located inside the St Alban’s Civic Centre.

Charlie Cadogan, HCT Operations Lead for Children and Young People’s Specialist Services said: “Bringing HCT children’s services together under one roof will help us transform how we care for some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our community. Many of the children we support have complex ongoing needs, and this new set up will make it much easier for clinicians from different specialities to work together to provide a personalised level of care.”

Karen Woollard, HCT Children and Young People’s Therapy Services Manager said “I’m thrilled at the fantastic feedback we’ve received from our first visitors. We wanted to make sure this new centre was as welcoming and child-friendly as possible so we chose warm bright colours and created a fun play area within the waiting room. Accessibility is very important to us, so every consulting room and the corridors that lead to them are spacious and clearly signposted. We have step-free access throughout, a climate controlled environment and all equipment and facilities have been designed to meet the highest hygiene standards.”

“We also worked hard to ensure that the new centre features many of the latest innovations in children’s therapies such as adjoining rooms connected with two-way mirrors which allow clinicians to observe and assess children as they play next door in a calm, distraction-free environment. All rooms can be adapted to meet an individual child’s needs, for example we have installed dimmable lighting, comfortable hoists, and furniture which can be adjusted in height and other settings.”

Kellen age 10 from St Albans was the first person to try out the Therapy Gym during his latest Occupational Health appointment. He tested out the new scooter board and trampette which are used to assess core strength, spatial awareness, motor planning and mobility. He said: “The therapy gym had really fun equipment and it was so cool that I was the first person to use it. The scooter board was fast and I felt like Superman! Everything’s all new and clean here and I like the colours everywhere. I really like this new centre!”

This is the second and final phase of HCT services moving into the Civic Centre following the transfer of Health Visiting, Diabetic Retinal Screening, Nutrition and Dietetics, Diabetes, Podiatry and Children’s Audiology in October 2018. The Civic Centre is also home to health services that are provided by Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (CLCH) – Leg Ulcer and Non-diabetic Podiatry Care.

More information on HCT’s Children’s Services can be found at www.hct.nhs.uk/our-services-and-referral-information/childrens-services/specialist-services

More information for visitors

Travelling by car - If you are using a sat nav system, use the postcode AL1 3JE to find Civic Close. Parking is available in nearby pay and display car parks in Bricket Road North, Drovers Way and the Maltings Shopping Centre. For more information on parking, go to www.stalbans.gov.uk and search for “car parks”. There is high demand for parking on Wednesdays because of the market so please allow time to park.

Travelling by bus - The majority of local buses stop in St Peter’s Street, including routes 34, 300, 321,658, and 724.

Travelling by train - St Albans City Station is approximately ten minutes’ walk from the Civic Centre. When leaving the station from the main exit, go up the steps to the main road then:

1. Turn right onto Victoria Street. Continue walking for around 0.4miles (10 mins)

2. Turn right onto Bricket Road

3. Turn left onto Civic Close

4. Turn right to stay on Civic Close

The council offices are set back from the road – behind the Alban Arena.

If you are a journalist or media representative requiring further information contact our communications team on (01707) 388148 or via communications@hct.nhs.uk