Charity boss ‘gutted and angry’ after Hull hotel cancels homeless Christmas booking

  • Carl Simpson, who raised money through donations to pay for the rooms, said he was not given a reason for the cancellation
PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2018, 8:25pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 December, 2018, 8:27pm

A hotel chain has been heavily criticised after it cancelled a charity booking for 28 homeless people over Christmas.

A fundraiser had paid £1,092 (US$1373) for the rough sleepers to stay in 14 twin rooms at the Britannia Royal hotel in Hull on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Carl Simpson, who raised the money through donations, said he told the hotel when he made the booking that it was a goodwill gesture for homeless people.

He said he was “absolutely gutted and very angry” when he received a call from a hotel manager telling him that the booking had been cancelled. No reason was given, Simpson said.

“I asked for a reason and was told there isn’t one,” Simpson wrote in a Facebook post that has been shared more than 1,000 times. “In my eyes this is nothing more than discrimination, especially after we was [sic] so open about what it was for.”

The hotel, which is part of the Britannia group, said no one was able to comment when contacted by The Guardian on Monday morning.

The decision prompted outrage online. Some users called for a boycott of the Grade II-listed Victorian hotel, while others said they were “disgusted” and “appalled”.

Emma Hardy, the Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle, said she would be willing to contact the hotel and “appeal to them to reconsider”.

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Simpson, 50, said he would now “need a miracle” to get the rough sleepers a roof over their heads in time for Christmas.

The cafe owner, who runs the Raise the Roof Hull homeless project, said he had been hoping to “repeat the success of last Christmas” when he booked 28 homeless people into an Ibis hotel for two nights.

“After the stay they were so grateful,” he told the BBC. “Some left staff gifts using the very little money they had, and one asked if he could vacuum the rooms to show his appreciation. This means the world to homeless people. Last year we had tears of joy from someone who stood on the edge of the Humber Bridge the night before. We have to break the news to people that the hotel has been cancelled.”

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Simpson said he was yet to receive a refund for the booking so was unable to rebook another hotel. “Our Xmas hotel campaign is now in serious doubt being so close to Xmas we need a miracle,” he wrote.