Users of the North Somerset Community Hospital in Clevedon have a new café to enjoy as they wait for their appointments, after local people and businesses came together to build a new, fit-for-the-21st century facility.
The former Little Teapot was an old conservatory donated in the 1980s and converted into a café around seven years ago. The new café is a dramatic improvement: it is easily accessible for all, has more than tripled the old Teapot’s capacity, and showcases artwork from local artists, all of which are aimed at making visits to enhance the hospital experience. It boasts cakes and muffins home-made by the volunteers who run the café, and, crucially, the profits will be re-invested in the hospital.
The new Little Teapot was opened by Julia Elton, Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset. Julia is the great, great granddaughter of Lord Arthur Hallam Elton, who first donated the buildings for and founded Clevedon Hospital in 1874.
The work was overseen by Sirona care & health, which runs services at the hospital, and the volunteer-run Friends of North Somerset Community Hospital. It would not have been possible without the generosity of local workers and businesses who either donated materials or provided them at cost.
The funds used to build the new café, around £70,000, were donated by the people of Clevedon and North Somerset through the Friends of the Hospital.
The Little Teapot is a facility for people waiting for planned appointments or to be seen at the Minor Injury Unit (MIU), and those visiting friends or family at the inpatient unit.
Matt Croughan, Same Day Urgent Care & Minor Injury Unit Operational Manager at North Somerset Community Hospital, said: “Knowing what comfort the previous Little Teapot café brought to people, it was clear when it reached the end of its life that we had to replace it, and what the Friends and we have created, with the coming together of many local businesses and individuals, is amazing – we are delighted to have it open.”
David Fife, Chair of the Friends of North Somerset Community Hospital, said: “The facilities are splendid. They will allow us to recruit volunteers who’ll want to work here, people will be able to sit in comfort and wait for their appointments, and carers will be able to come in here and have a cup of tea. We’re just trying to make it as easy as possible for people.
“Any money that we take will become part of the Friends’ funds, and they are entirely for the provision of equipment and support to the hospital.”
Julia Sharma, Interim Chief Executive of Sirona care & health, said: “I am immensely proud of the work of Matt and colleagues along with the Friends of the Hospital in enabling the new Little Teapot to open. It is an achievement by and for the whole community, and one that I know will improve the experience of individuals every time they visit us.”
Julia Elton said: “I’m thrilled to bits that my great, great grandfather’s legacy is still such a fantastic part of the hospital.
“The new Little Teapot is very much in the community spirit and tradition of my great, great grandfather. This is clearly a success.”
Peter Rideout, lead volunteer at the Little Teapot, said: “I find that if people come in a little bit stressed before their appointment, by talking to other people they go out with smiles on their faces. And that puts a smile on my face.”
Businesses and groups which supported the build include: Project Design & Construction Management, South West Surveys, NHS Property Services, Britannia Windows, RBJ Flooring, Howdens, DC Construct, CE Signs, John West Contractors, The Clevedon Men’s Shed, Lloyds Bank, Treble Landscapes, and Myfanwy Wurzels Swim Club.