Homeless welcomed at Chichester Travelodge during coronavirus pandemic

Travelodge Chichester Central in Chapel Street. Photo: Google Street ViewTravelodge Chichester Central in Chapel Street. Photo: Google Street View
Travelodge Chichester Central in Chapel Street. Photo: Google Street View | other
Homeless people are being housed and fed at Chichester's Travelodge during the coronavirus pandemic.

Travelodge is keeping its Chichester Central hotel open during the Covid-19 lockdown, to provide accommodation for critical workers and vulnerable groups.

Hotel manager and Chichester resident Gina Jelley said it is giving staff a 'bit of normality' in difficult times, whilst also providing a 'great opportunity' for people without a home.

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She added: "We are getting more and more people and we are keeping them off the streets. They've got to do social distancing and they understand the rules.

"We've made our car park into a little garden for them which prevents them going off wandering as they are hard to keep in once place.

"We've all raided our wardrobes and took in clothes and shoes. We've got security to help us and they've brought in things they don't want.

"There is a mutual respect there. It's really nice and I would never have got an opportunity like this otherwise. It's not work and not how we're used to running things but it's great."

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Gina said Travelodge were initially asked by Chichester District Council for help.

"We were shutting and the council approached us and said they had been given a grant to get the rough sleepers off the streets while they are high risk," she explained.

"They get their food delivered to the hotel. It's monitored, managed and we haven't had any trouble.

"We didn't know whether to mix the homeless and the key workers but it's worked. We keep them on their floors.

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"Travelodge is proud to be part of it and it keeps us in the job. It's a real eye opener and I'm glad to be a part of it."

The district council said it is doing 'everything we can' to help rough sleepers during the pandemic.

A spokesperson said: "We are especially conscious that rough sleepers face particular health risks and so we have identified short term accommodation options for all of the known rough sleepers in Chichester. This accommodation includes hotels and B&Bs, which would not ordinarily be available for this use.

“We are continuing to support these individuals by making sure they have all the help they need, and that they have a phone and are in regular contact with one of our outreach workers. Our aim is to find suitable permanent accommodation for these individuals.

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“Support is also available through Stonepillow day centres in Chichester and Bognor, which are offering access to food and other services.

"The council is supporting this work by providing non-essential staff to assist Stonepillow at the Chichester Hub.”

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