Countryside Heroes: A Prince Among Hotels
When councils were instructed to provide accommodation for the homeless, Mike Matthews, owner of The Prince Rupert Hotel in the centre of Shrewsbury was one of the first to step up.
The decision was part business decision to save his hotel, part philanthropy to help homeless people that he admits he had ignored in the past. Mike and two of his staff have been living in the hotel full time and as he says ‘We’re hoteliers we look after people’. So far the hotel has housed 25 rough sleepers. One man who has lived there for six weeks said hotel staff have ‘gone out of their way to help’.
Chris Bennett who found himself homeless after leaving hospital following an operation said he did not expect the hotel staff “to be so down to earth” especially in a 4 star hotel. “I think the world of Michael and all the staff, they’re amazing”.
The new residents, including one former employee, say that they feel it has given them some dignity back and a rare feeling of family and safety. Hopefully, it may provide the perfect stepping stone to permanently helping these rough sleepers into permanent accommodation and work. Some of the friendships that have been developed between staff and their new clients look set to stay. The hotel also provides all meals for their guests and is working with the council and charity Shrewsbury Ark to house rough sleepers.
You can learn more about Mike and his new residents below courtesy of The Guardian.
Future travel note: Shrewsbury is one of the UK’s loveliest towns and the historic Grade II listed Prince Rupert Hotel is firmly established as one of the town’s finest hotels. Formerly the home of Prince Rupert, the grandson of King James 1, it is a wonderful Tudor building surrounded by cobblestone streets. The Matthews family have owned the hotel since 1996 and have ensured the hotel has all modern luxuries as well as preserving its unique historical charm. Post lockdown, let’s make sure we put a visit to The Prince Rupert firmly in our diaries.