DEDICATED care workers are challenging themselves to set up a care home in two weeks - when it normally takes around 18 months.

In an emergency response to the coronavirus outbreak, Somerset County Council is bringing two redundant care homes back to life.

It is working with Somerset Care to bring Acacia House in Yeovil and Popham Court in Wellington back up to standard to help provide more care beds.

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council said: "These homes will care for some of our most elderly and frail residents as we look to safely discharge patients from hospital whilst we support and protect our NHS. The residents will be people well enough to leave hospital but with continuing care needs and who need a bit more support before they can safely go home. In short, these homes will be our own local care versions of Nightingale."

The council has also issued an urgent appeal for people with a care background to come forward.

They are looking for administrators, nurses, healthcare assistants and support staff who can help with meal preparation, cleaning and kitchen/laundry. Those interested can email at

Popham Court Care Home closed in 2018, but it will soon be used to provide care for vulnerable people.

The council spokesperson added: "It would normally take around 18 months to set up a care home, but Somerset Care have stepped in and are looking on track to turn this around in two weeks.

"This has been a heroic effort on their part, and we’re hugely grateful to them."