Madingley Hall is normally used by the Institute of Continuing EducationBenjah-bmm27/Wikimedia

Madingley Hall, the location of the University’s Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), has housed NHS frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme, which was devised in conjunction with the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, provided residential accommodation to clinical and professional services staff working at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

The NHS-funded contract, which provided accommodation for up to 28 NHS employees at any one time, began on 30th March and lasted for five weeks.

Madingley Hall was closed to the public on 19th March.

The healthcare workers who took part in the scheme either ordinarily live with people classified as vulnerable or would have otherwise had long commutes, which is problematic for working hospital shifts.

ICE told Varsity that they adhered to stringent physical distancing rules and rigorous cleaning protocols for the duration of the scheme.

The spokesperson for Madingley Hall commented: “It was our privilege to house NHS workers during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.”

They continued: “The Madingley Hall team worked to staff the reception, kitchen, housekeeping and gardens in order to ensure the NHS staff could keep going to work and had a safe place to rest between shifts.”

NHS staff were given single-occupancy, en-suite accommodation, with catering and laundry services provided. The workers could also access Madingley’s formal gardens.

The contract ended on 4th May. A spokesperson for Madingley Hall explained that “as the Covid-19 outbreak entered an extended phase, a number of the key workers required long-stay accommodation such as self-catering apartments”.

Madingley Hall, which was built in the sixteenth century and is set in eight acres of gardens and parkland, was bought by the University of Cambridge in 1948. The on-site accommodation has been awarded a five-star campus award from Visit England.


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The ICE, located at the Hall, ordinarily provides residential and non-residential courses, including a range of part-time Master’s Degrees, as well as a location for conferences and summer programmes.

No comment was made in response to Varsity’s question as to whether a venue closer to Addenbrooke’s Hospital could have been selected for the scheme.

The use of Madingley Hall comes amidst demands for worker safety in the University during the pandemic, as well as the decision to house rough sleepers in vacant student accommodation.