Skip to content

Published: 23 April 2024

Edenbridge health centre officially opened thanks to patient Mick

There were cheers of joy from patients, volunteers, local residents and NHS colleagues as the £14million Edenbridge Memorial Health Centre was officially opened.

Image of Mick in a wheelchair with his wife Jennifer standing behind himMick Gilbert-Brown, 87, who has Parkinson’s and visits the wellbeing centre every week, cut the ribbon, which was a festive shade of NHS blue.

After more than seven years of planning, engagement and construction, the centre, which combines a GP surgery, children’s services, diagnostic services, a wellbeing centre and a wide range of outpatient clinics, welcomed its first patients last November.

Mick was joined at the opening by his wife Jennifer. She said: “I think this place is wonderful. Mick comes to the day centre every Monday to socialise.”

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) and Edenbridge Medial Practice run the majority of services, alongside partners from Sevenoaks District Council and the local hospital trust.

KCHFT Chief Executive Mairead McCormick said: “Our new health centre will provide quality care to the people of Edenbridge, closer to home and at the heart of our community. It is a shining example of supporting people to manage their health, stay well and be part of the community, while delivering care, closer to home.”

At the opening, Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge and Malling, said: “This is an amazing facility and will deliver quality care for generations to come.”

Dr Mark Sage, GP at Edenbridge Medical Practice, said: “Edenbridge Medical Practice now finds itself in a modern premises with a team of enthusiastic and dedicated staff. This practice is now the best in Kent and the ninth best in England for getting same day access. This project has shown us what can be achieved if local leaders, healthcare professionals and patients all work together.”

Gemma Riddick sits in a chair holding crutchesFor 40-year-old Gemma Riddick, being able to access specialist wound care, near where she lives, without having to go to hospital has been a life line.

Gemma who lives with vasculitis, a condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels, was experiencing crippling leg pain. Her fear of hospitals had left her feeling unsure where to turn for help.

Gemma said: “My leg had been beyond painful for some months. I was embarrassed by how awful it looked so I just hoped my red raw flesh would heal and I could carry on with my life.

“The clinic was a God-send. The team took the time to listen to me and explain what was happening. Nothing shocked them which made me feel comfortable and confident to talk about my emotional wellbeing, as well as my physical condition, without being judged.

“I can’t work and my energy levels and mobility are poor, so having this facility so close to home is ideal. It all feels really joined-up. My care package is made just for me and I am now connected with local community support services, which help me with transport and care at home.

“I’m learning how to look after myself and how to live with my condition.”

Alongside specialist clinical care, there is also a wellbeing day centre on-site to support people living with dementia or social isolation.

Image of Phyllis Streets with a cupcakeLocal resident, 88-year-old Phyllis Streets, is already benefitting from the new community hub. Having moved to the town to be closer to her son after her husband died, Phyllis found herself feeling isolated and lonely.

Phyllis said: “I left some great friends where I used to live and I felt lonely moving to a new place. I was worried I wouldn’t find friendships like I had before, until I started attending the health and wellbeing hub.

“The staff couldn’t do more for you. They’ve introduced me to new people, given me health advice and directed me to the right places for support.”

While at the hub, Phyllis plays games, as well as taking part in quizzes and craft activities, and enjoys lunch with her friends.

“I attend the hub once or twice-a-week and it has really helped me settle into Edenbridge. I look forward to going every week. I think it’s an amazing place and they should have them in every town to support people like me.”

Galliford Try were the construction partners on this project and gbpartnerships acted as our development partners in the build.

Image of an arch in the middle of a garden with the words lest we forgetLaura Hodgetts, Healthcare Director at Galliford Try, said: “Throughout the delivery of the project the Galliford Try team has been busy delivering further benefits to the local community, which include 58 new jobs created for local people, three careers events, three work placements on our site and almost £3,000 raised for local charities by the team themselves, which really is a wonderful achievement.”

Hugh Robinson, Group Business Development Director, gbpartnerships group, said: “We are incredibly proud to have successfully completed the new Edenbridge Memorial Health Centre on schedule and to see this important facility for the local community officially open.

"Developments such as this come about by strong partnership working and lots of hard work, and Edenbridge Memorial Health Centre is a great example of innovative partnership working between the NHS, gbpartnerships and Galliford Try.

"This modern, purpose-built health centre is improving access to a wide range of services for local people in a low energy, low carbon building that is helping KCHFT meet its sustainable care ambition. The building uses no fossil fuels to heat it and photo voltaic panels producing renewable energy on site.

"I applaud and thank the whole team at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust and at Galliford Try for their tenacity in reaching this major milestone.”

The new Edenbridge Memorial Health Centre was made possible due to funding from a private development agreement underwritten by NHS Kent and Medway, Sevenoaks District Council, Edenbridge Town Council and the sale of the former Edenbridge hospital site.