A hotel owner in Shropshire has called on fellow hoteliers to open their hotels to homeless Ukrainians.
Mike Mathews, has owned the 70-bedroom Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury for 26 years. He says that he has been deeply affected by the situation of the people in Ukraine, after Russia invaded their country. He mentioned that although their world had been turned upside down in a matter of days, he feels that he UK Hospitality industry can help out.
There are more than 140,000 applicants for the Homes for Ukraine program, and Mathews believes that it is a highly complex program, faced with many difficulties. He said that the program is being offered to women and children, who have been traumatized and may not now where the rest of their family is. He says that it would be challenging for the average household to deal with, but is something that the hotel industry deals with every day, by welcoming unknown people.
Hotels to step up
This prompted Mike Mathews to call upon every hotel in the UK to offer bedrooms to refugees. The logic was simple according to Mathews. He said that if the existing 10,000 hotels in the UK were to offer five rooms to refuges, that would add up to fifty thousand rooms, which in turn could potentially accommodate 100,00 Ukrainian refugees.
Mathews has also called upon the larger hotel chains like Premier Inn, Travelodge and Hilton to involve themselves in the scheme. Mathews has already offered five rooms to refugees at The Prince Rupert Hotel, and is willing to offer more if possible.
Speaking in favor of the scheme, Mathews said that government agencies would be able to co-ordinate better with hotels, as opposed to individual households spread across various regions.
Speaking on the UK governments offer of GBP350 for every household that took part in the Homes for Ukraine scheme, Mathews felt that the money would be better utilized for essential items like clothing and toiletries, if hotels across the UK open their doors to the refugees.
Mathews has said that in addition to providing rooms for the refugees, he will be able to provide paid jobs for approximately twenty people at his hotel. Justifying this decision, Mathews said that every hotel across the country struggles to find staff, and providing employment to the refugees would be helpful both for the refugees, as well as businesses in the hospitality industry.
Larger Initiatives from the hospitality industry
Chef Steven Saunders of The Willow Tree is another individual working to help Ukraine refugees in their moment of crisis. Along with the owner of the Willow Tree, Saunders has launched a program called the Odessa Project and is soon to travel to Poland in an effort to bring back families who wish to live and work in the UK. Saunders said that the project has already received offers of 683 rooms from various hotels willing to provide accommodation and work for those fleeing Ukraine.
He said these offers could potentially offer employment to almost 1,500 people. However, he expressed frustration with the bureaucracy involved in repatriating families to the UK. Saunders added that he CTC per person would be in the range of GBP600 to 700, and hoped that more and more hospitality businesses in the UK would step up to help.
Bigger businesses come forward
In a collective response, bigger businesses from the hospitality sector have stepped up to help in the effort to help Ukrainian refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Mildreds, a chain of six plant-based restaurants in London, has offered assistance to refugees from the Ukraine in securing jobs. Careers for Ukraine, a project that it has started, will offer GBP550 to individuals to travel to the UK and find work, staff meals, and a flexible working schedule. In addition to these, Mildreds has also stated that they will provide a kind, positive and honest environment for people to work in.
General manager of Mildreds, Oksanna Williams, is from the town of Poltava in central Ukraine. She said that every day, people have the courage and bravery to stand up to the invaders and protect the peace in Europe.
As a final word, she said that Ukraine needs support now more than ever, in their fight for freedom and humanity.