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Accommodation providers line-up to help key workers during COVID-19 response

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism

Cumbria’s accommodation providers are being thanked for offering key workers a place to stay during the fight against COVID-19.

Working with its partners, member businesses and Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Tourism is helping accommodation providers adapt their services to assist with the local emergency response to Coronavirus.

While hotels, hostels, B&Bs and self-catering properties have been told to temporarily shut-down under the government’s safety precautions, exceptions have been made to ensure help is available for frontline key workers who may need alternative accommodation during the pandemic.

Cumbria Tourism has also been approached by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust to provide them with details of any accommodation that would be willing to accommodate their frontline staff.

The county’s official Destination Management Organisation has put the call out to its 2,500 member businesses to appeal for volunteers. Not only have there been offers from self-catering properties and guest houses, but also offers of help with transportation for key workers too.

Cumbria Tourism is also liaising with ‘Leave a Light On’, an organisation set-up to offer specialist advice and support for anyone affected by the effects of the pandemic which is collating other offers of help and passing them on to the North West Ambulance Service and the North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. Founder, Richard Francis, says, “What an overwhelming response from so many kind people offering to open up their homes where possible and even offering empty homes including of course our wonderful NHS staff! We definitely have so much to be thankful for as a nation. Keep the offers coming!”

Offers of help have come in from campsites too, including The Quiet Site, near Ullswater, whose owner Daniel Holder has made his accommodation available for NHS staff, other key workers and groups of people in at-risk categories.

Daniel says, “Currently it looks as though the offer of help in Penrith, for example, is being taken-up quite quickly, so we’re making ourselves available to help in the event that the need spills-over. Many of our accommodation areas are very spaced-out, so key workers can easily distance themselves from one another. We all felt that offering our self-catering accommodation was the very least we could do.”

It’s also hoped these offers of help will also assist in the creation of new jobs by other supporting services, including those dedicated to helping with the co-ordination of providing beds for key workers and patients.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “It’s truly fantastic to see so many accommodation providers across Cumbria doing whatever they can to help those in need during this incredibly difficult time. Both myself and the whole Board at Cumbria Tourism highly commend these efforts, as this is exactly the kind of teamwork and compassion which, when combined, really go to show what a fantastic community of businesses which we have the pleasure of living among and working with.”

Key workers requiring accommodation, or providers who can offer somewhere to stay can register their interest here.

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