The Salvation Army is the custodian and owner of the iconic Strawberry Field and Robertson has delivered a new £4.8m training hub; visitor experience and retreat on the site that was the inspiration for John Lennon and the 1967 Beatles song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. The new hub will provide training, skills and valuable work experience for up to 40 young adults with learning disabilities and barriers to employment, in addition to delivering educational, cultural and spiritual training.

The 14,400 square foot, steel framed, two-storey building includes activity spaces, catering facilities, a community café and offices. Clad in natural timber and brick, the building blends with wooded areas in the surrounding landscape.

Major Kathy Versfeld, Mission Director, The Salvation Army Strawberry Field, said “We were impressed by the team from Robertson, they listened to our client needs and grasped the vision of our plans to redevelop Strawberry Field. As a church and charity, building community is at the heart of everything we do, the Robertson team assisted us during the build process to keep all stakeholders actively involved, this reaped rewards for the overall success of the project."

During construction, Robertson employed three new apprentices and offered 26 placements for college students in partnership with Liverpool City College.  In addition, Robertson were able to support The Salvation Army’s Steps to Work, programme which will be run from Strawberry Field.

Dirk Pittaway, Managing Director of Robertson North West, said: “This world-famous site has been given a new lease of life and will enrich the lives of so many young people in the local area. By opening Strawberry Field to the public for the first time, The Salvation Army is providing the opportunity for people from across the globe to be fully immersed in the site, understand the influence that the area had on a young John Lennon and appreciate the beauty of the gardens that inspired the song. Our team are tremendously proud to have been involved in this project and the legacy that it is laying down for the future. 

“To have been able to employ three new apprentices and offer placements to a number of students in Liverpool has been a large part of this project for us. Robertson is committed to the professional development of young people, and we’re pleased so many had the opportunity to work at such an iconic site – I’m sure it’s something they will never forget.”

The site’s original red gates, which are recognised by Liverpool City Council as “an important cultural asset” will be on public display within the gardens and were recently returned to the site by Robertson following a tour of other iconic Liverpool landmarks. 

Robertson delivered the project with the built environment consultancy Curtins, Hoskins Architects and Gleeds property and construction consultants.

The gates to Strawberry Field will open to the public for the first time on September 14th 2019 and visitors will be able to enjoy a specially curated exhibition exploring the history of the site as a place of peace and refuge, depicting John Lennon’s early life and telling the story of how it inspired the world-famous song.

 

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