A POP-UP care home has now opened its doors to some of Somerset’s most elderly and frail residents as part of the fight against coronavirus.

The former Acacia House care home, in Yeovil, has been re-opened - as Hendford Court - after round-the-clock work to get it back in full working order to help the battle against the pandemic.

Somerset County Council and care company Somerset Care teamed up to get it back into full working order in a matter of weeks – rather than the usual 18 months it takes to set up a home.

Hendford Court has been set up as a safe haven for people who have tested positive for coronavirus or are displaying symptoms, who cannot yet return to their care home or own home.

Residents will be those who are considered well enough to leave hospital, but with continuing care needs

Councillor David Huxtable, cabinet member for adult care at the council, said: “Hendford Court will provide a safe and reassuring place for those who can’t yet return home and need somewhere to self-isolate with appropriate care provided from a team of fully trained staff and volunteers.

“Thank you to everyone who stepped forward after our appeal to help support.

"At present our acute and community hospitals are coping well during the pandemic, but we must be prepared to provide care if, and when, it is needed.

"I would like to thank everyone involved who has worked with such commitment to make sure we are well prepared.”

Andrew Needham, operations director at Somerset Care, said: "We are incredibly proud to be being involved in providing this resource for the people of Somerset.

"The team at Somerset Care has worked hard to get the home ready and I am very grateful to all who have helped."

The scale and speed of the project was considerable – for example a fit-out, normally taking four to six weeks, was achieved in two days.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Somerset County Council issued an appeal for carers – and the response has been inspirational with 184 external applications.

Hendford Court’s 65 staff are in place, including the county council’s vice chair, Councillor Mark Keating. He has retrained for the role and is tweeting about his experiences - @CllrMarkKeating.

And thanks to Yeovil’s B&Q store, the staff will have open-air seating where they can take a break.

Store manager Steve Pestel has generously donated four picnic seat and bench sets so staff can enjoy some outdoor respite during their shifts.