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Topping out ceremony celebrates milestone achievement for National Rehabilitation Centre

A significant milestone in the construction of the first NHS National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) was cause for celebration this week for the project partners committed to making the facility a reality.

The £105 million NRC will combine patient care delivered by staff from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) with research, innovation and training led by Loughborough University and the University of Nottingham.

IHP, a joint venture between VINCI Building and Sir Robert McAlpine, hosted the formal ‘Topping Out Ceremony’ for the NRC at the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate near Loughborough earlier this week.

Topping out is a common tradition within the construction sector, which marks a building reaching its highest level. For the NRC, this also means the completion of the building’s frame, symbolising another important milestone in the journey of this pioneering rehabilitation centre.

The event began with a piper leading guests onto the roof of the brand-new three-storey NRC, before key individuals were invited to cement their involvement in the programme by signing their names in concrete.

The NRC programme is building a 70-bed, state-of-the-art and highly energy efficient new facility as part of the Government’s New Hospital Programme. It is due to open in 2025 and aims to transform clinical treatment for patients in the East Midlands, and set a new standard for research and innovation, and education and training in rehabilitation for the whole of the UK.

The celebration was attended by key stakeholders including Sir Andrew McAlpine – partner at Sir Robert McAlpine on behalf of IHP, the Black Stork Charity, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham, and the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, located on the same estate.

Miriam Duffy, NRC Director, said: “We began this journey almost eight years ago in 2016, and so today’s milestone is testament to the teamwork and perseverance that have brought us to this point, which is another step towards opening our doors to patients in need of rehabilitation.

“The NRC will not only serve as a centre rehabilitation excellence, but also as a symbol of hope for countless individuals and families across the country. We look forward to welcoming patients next year so we can help them start their own journey towards a better future with as much independence as possible.”

Professor Mark Lewis, Loughborough University’s NRC lead and Dean of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, said: “It is fantastic to see the progress being made on the construction of the National Rehabilitation Centre.

“Loughborough University is proud to be a core partner for this state-of-the-art facility. We look forward to using our expert knowledge in research and innovation to help transform treatment and outcomes for patients, and to developing education and training programmes in rehabilitation that are truly world leading.”

Pip Logan, Professor of Rehabilitation Research and Occupational Therapist at the School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, said: “The University of Nottingham’s partnership with the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) represents an essential part of our commitment to uplifting – through our world-leading experience in rehabilitation research and education – the health of the people in our region and across the UK. 

“It’s a pleasure to celebrate this great milestone in construction of the NRC and we look forward to utilising this fantastic new integrated facility. 

“Embedding our training courses in rehabilitation, alongside our research in robotics, physiology, mental health, rehab technology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, rehab medicine and rehab nursing, with patients, families, clinical professionals, and industry is vital for our institution and for developing world-class rehabilitation patient services.”

Recently, a timelapse of the first six months of the build and drone footage were released to give the public an insight into the ongoing development of the project.