Following 6 years in research and development, STEPS Rehabilitation’s state-of-the-art neurological, orthopaedic and complex trauma rehabilitation facility has received its Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration. STEPS is now open and ready to make a difference to individuals who will benefit from its uniquely intensive, residential and day rehabilitation programs on offer.

The purpose-built development is on a previously derelict site at Troutbeck Road, off Abbeydale Road South, Sheffield, S7 2QA and has been named Alexander House. Its facilities include 23 ensuite bedrooms, rehabilitation gym, hydrotherapy pool, therapy kitchens, hairdressing salon, games room, music room and café, together with an outdoor covered rehabilitation area, all designed to create an atmosphere as homely as possible. Over 35 jobs have already been created and by the end of the year the company expects to have about 100 staff.

The company was launched following in depth research by two Sheffield based sisters to identify which rehabilitation facilities were most lacking in the City. Through her work over the years at St Luke’s Hospice, various hospitals and in the community, Toria Chan, a Chartered Physiotherapist, had become acutely aware of how the quality of life of many people, including those who had survived a stroke or major trauma, could be significantly enhanced with individually packaged rehabilitation programs.

She also realised that existing services were heavily focused on the needs of older people and despite stroke survivors generally tending to be older, 25% are under age 65. STEPS will therefore treat adults from the age of 18 years.

Toria and Jules’s father, Ray Boulger, a semi-retired financial services professional and also Sheffield based, then joined the team, along with Kathryn Coleman, a long standing friend of the two sisters. Both provided significant capital investment, together with expertise to complement the sisters’ skills.

The development was awarded a substantial grant from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), administered by Sheffield City Council, to help create new employment opportunities. Without this grant it is unlikely the project would have got off the ground, at least on its current scale.

Shortly after awarding the grant David Grey, MBE and Chair of the Sheffield City Region SCR Local Enterprise Partnership LEP RGF Investment Panel at the Council said: "STEPS has the potential to become the prime facility for patients requiring the latest neurological rehabilitation care to achieve the highest level of recovery. It will bring more than 60 jobs to the area and regenerate the site, which currently lies derelict."

Founder & Business Development Director, Jules Shiel-Boulger, said: “We have a wonderful purpose built facility but equally important are our dedicated team of specially selected professionals who will be working with our patients and their families to deliver high quality rehabilitation. Having our team all together in the STEPS building for the first time last week was quite a milestone and wonderful to see how well they gelled working together. There has been a real sense of excitement all around the building and they are all now looking forward to receiving our first patients.”

Founder & Clinical Director, Toria Chan, said: “A six year dream has come to fruition and the ability to work with patients and our hand picked team in a purpose built facility, with my footprint on much of the clinical design, makes all the hard work in getting here seem worthwhile. I have enormous confidence we will be able to make a huge difference to those patients who share our drive and determination to work hard and maximise their recovery. We can now offer patients the tools with which to push their own recovery to its pinnacle.”

Ray Boulger, Chairman, said: “There have been many challenges on the way but it has been a real privilege to work with my daughters and the rest of our dedicated team to help bring this superb facility to fruition. Throughout our journey to today’s opening many friends and colleagues of the management team have provided invaluable help and advice, much of it pro bono, and the hugely complimentary comments from all who have visited the finished building will make everyone involved in this project very proud to have had the foresight, enthusiasm and commitment to recognise the need and the potential in the early days.”

Professional Appointments

  • The architects were Newcastle Upon Tyne based Alston Murphy Associates, which has very recently merged with Acanthus Darbyshire Architects Ltd.

This blog from project architect, Iain Murphy, highlights some of the architectural challenges and how they were addressed, together with some other insightful comments:

  • The contractors were Leeds and Chester le Street based NCS

NCS was appointed after detailed and careful evaluation of the tenders and their operating style. One of our guiding philosophies has been to choose partners who share our strong values. As well as our experience of working with NCS reinforcing this approach, support from NCS has proved invaluable is dealing with issues which manifested themselves during construction.

  • The company’s Chartered Accountants are Hawsons, of Glossop Road, Sheffield.

Hawsons has been involved with the STEPS project from the early stages and it has played a key role in creating a comprehensive business plan and supporting financial forecasts, together with assisting in the successful RGF application and advising on various other matters, including an effective operating structure.

  • The company’s solicitors are Sheffield’s Wake Smith.

Commercial conveyancing is more complex than residential and so STEPS was well aware of the need to appoint a legal partner with particular expertise in this area, taking account of the need for advice on taxation matters and company structure as well as conveyancing. The property related work was undertaken by Lisa Davison, director in the commercial property department, and corporate matters were dealt with by fellow director, Duncan Shepherd.