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.

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

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. 

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 £105million NRC programme is building a 70-bed, state-of-the-art and highly energy efficient new facility, run by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and part of the Government’s New Hospital Programme. Research, innovation and training will be led by academic partners Loughborough University and the University of Nottingham. 

The NRC 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, University of Nottingham, Loughborough University, and the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, located on the same estate. 

Following the formalities, guests from the wide range of organisations enjoyed refreshments – courtesy of IHP – in the spring sunshine.

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.”

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.