A £9million teaching block which will be used to help educate over 500 health and social care students at the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus has been officially opened.
The Sentamu Building, named after university’s chancellor the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, was opened before an invited audience of guests from across the region at a ceremony carried out on Tuesday 5 September.
“The last ten years have marked the crowning achievement of more than 150 years of education in this place,” Dr Sentamu said. “The University of Cumbria has seen thousands of students achieve more than they thought possible and it has been part of transforming communities across the country. It has been a privilege to sit as Chancellor during this period of growth and I am deeply honoured to have my name attached to a building in a place of learning and human flourishing. I pray that the University of Cumbria will continue to go from strength to strength.”
Although unable to attend the ceremony Dr Sentamu will be visiting the university early next year to bless the new teaching block.
The project was supported with £2.5m of Growth Deal Skills Capital Funds from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) whose chairman Edwin Booth cut a ceremonial ribbon which followed an inaugural speech by Professor Ian Cumming OBE, the chief executive of Health Education England, entitled ‘Stepping up to the workforce challenge.’
Edwin Booth, Chair of the LEP, said: “The Sentamu Teaching Block is a welcome addition to the training capabilities of Lancashire's skills providers which the LEP has supported through its Growth Deal Skills Capital Fund.
“We aim to create a pipeline of skilled talent which will help transform Lancashire’s health and social care sector, meeting the challenges of an ageing population and rising life expectancy and to support the creation of over 700 new health and social care jobs in the Lancaster region by 2024."
“The LEP is investing in local training providers, colleges and universities in order to create a network of new training facilities that will help to develop the specific skills and capabilities that Lancashire employers in key economic sectors require.“
With ‘fresher’s week’ just days away, the new building will soon be home to hundreds of students on a daily basis.
“There is no doubt the opening of the building will make a real difference but it’s not just the bricks, mortar and the marvellous environmentally friendly features that count,” Vice Chancellor Prof Julie Mennell said.
“The learning that will go on in the building will affect lives, both the hundreds of students who will pass through and the many more people who will benefit from their expertise in the future. The university plays a pivotal role in improving the skills of the county’s health and social care workforce, inspiring all of those who teach and learn here and helping to transform the sector for many years to come.”
“We are immensely proud that the building is now ready to welcome our new and returning students as well as being a facility for stakeholders and wider community. Partnership working with the health and social care sector is a key feature of our offer.
As a leading provider of health, social care, nursing, paramedic, midwifery, occupational health and other allied health practitioner education, the new facility will train an additional 580 students, helping to meet the demand for health and social care services in Lancashire and beyond.”
During the construction process students were encouraged to contribute ideas and comment on the choice of furniture and carpets. A chill out area and balcony overlooking playing fields and the Trough of Bowland beyond were among other suggestions made.
Featuring a 222 seat lecture theatre and using environmentally sensitive measures to reduce energy use, the building compliments other recent developments by the University of Cumbria in Carlisle and Ambleside.
Pictured: The Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Edwin Booth with University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor Prof Julie Mennell. Image by Nick Dagger photography.