College principal David Pomfret said a new School or Nursing would be a "fantastic opportunity" for West Norfolk

West Norfolk is set to get its own School of Nursing thanks to cash from the government’s Town Deal Accelerated Funding which has been confirmed today (Friday).

The bid, supported by West Norfolk Council and the Town Deal Board, was developed by the College of West Anglia in King’s Lynn in partnership with the town’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital and could see the first intake of students next September.

A grant of £597,000 has been secured for the project which will see high quality nursing training facilities developed at the college campus.  The college will deliver the Level 5 (foundation degree equivalent) Associate Nursing Apprenticeship to support the future workforce needs of the QEH.

Only locations identified for Town Deals have been offered access to this additional grant to fund projects which can be delivered by next March 31. A total of £750,000 has been allocated to Lynn, in addition to the original £25m Town Deal fund already allocated,  £597,000 for the School of Nursing, and a separate bid for the remaining £153,000 to go towards public realm improvements.

In welcoming the news, college principal David Pomfret said: “The School of Nursing creates a fantastic opportunity for West Norfolk.  The coronavirus has caused a massive global recession, however, health and social care is one of the very few sectors which is set to grow.”

He said the project would create local career and skills development opportunities.  “Nursing is an incredibly important and rewarding career.  This project will mean that the very best of talent can stay local, improve the stability and quality of the QEH workforce and support the West Norfolk economy as well as the wellbeing of west Norfolk communities,” he said.

The project will include two high-quality teaching spaces, refurbished into a hospital ward with two beds and equipment to give students experience of a clinical setting, and a simulator suite with two beds and special dummies to present students with challenging situations.

Dr April Brown, QEH chief nurse, said: “We are absolutely delighted that funding has been secured for the West Norfolk School of Nursing.

“Once in place, this course will open up career opportunities for local people who perhaps never thought that there would be a chance to study nursing in West Norfolk, closer to home.

“The capital part of this project will be completed within the funding timescales, with the accreditation work taking place in order for the School of Nursing to receive their first cohort of students in September 2021.”

Graham Purkins, chairman of the Town Deal Board, said it would provide opportunities for local people to access nursing training and employment in Lynn instead of having to travel to Norwich or Cambridge.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild said it would “kickstart training opportunities for people in West Norfolk and allow QEH to recruitment more staff locally”.

“The success of this proposal reflects the strong collaborative working between the College of West Anglia, QEH, the borough council and other local partners on the Towns Fund Board. By investing in the town centre this funding will support projects to encourage more people to support local businesses and create new opportunities,” he said.