When we made the decision to give our empty bedrooms to NHS and frontline workers, free of charge, we had no idea what to expect and how busy we would be.
And we watched nervously as numbers and demand keep increasing. It alerted us to the seriousness of what was out there. Our sales team worked round the clock ensuring every enquiry was answered quickly and provided reassurance to worried frontline teams. With this increased demand and with our people on furlough, we appealed to our caring team. And in the most unusual circumstances, they stepped up and volunteered to help. We’re always incredibly grateful and proud of our team.
We watched from the side-lines as key workers from nurses, doctors and ambulance drivers, came and went through day shifts and night shifts. We could see the gravity of the situation and the heart-breaking decisions the frontline teams were having to make, as they tried to look after patients and keep their own families safe at home.
And as they came to stay with us and separated from their loved ones, our team tried to fill the gap. With some frontline workers staying with us for as long as nine to 10 weeks consecutively – in these strangest of circumstances, friendships were made.
Birthdays were celebrated and some of our team made cakes. Easter came and went – and we received donations of Easter eggs. Little thank you cards from our team appeared. Communities and businesses rallied, and many food parcels arrived from local supermarkets and shops, as well as gifts of toiletries.
The total number of bedrooms we gave away free of charge was 3,488. The majority of these were at The Bowfield Hotel and The Busby Hotel. With the Lynnhurst, Torrance and The Commercial Hotel also helping.
Our frontline workers finally left us last week. We were sad to see them leave because they became like an extended family to us, and we’ve enjoyed looking after them. We are however also thankful, because it means people are safer, the risk of Covid-19 is decreasing, and we are gradually returning to some kind of normality.
It’s been an emotional journey. We have received so many gifts, messages and thank you cards from the people who have stayed with us.
At the Bowfield some nurses were with us for around 10 weeks. When they left, they kindly gave our team some lovely gifts, and a plaque inscribed with a poem they had written to us.
You’ll find this proudly displayed at the Bowfield Hotel. It’s now a part of our history and will always remind us of this time.
We give thanks to all our NHS workers and carers. We’ll always be grateful for the amazing work they do to look after all of us. We’re honoured we were able to help in some small way and our doors will be always be open for you.