17 February 2021

YMCA Dulverton Group have begun the task of transforming the Gascony Hotel, on the corner of The Avenue and Tregonwell Road, Minehead, into accommodation for people on the next step of their journey from homelessness to independence.

The scheme has been made possible thanks to investment from the YMCA, Somerset West and Taunton Council and the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) through Homes England. Gascony House will produce 18 units of accommodation to support individuals to begin their lives again and continue their journey to independent living.

YMCA Dulverton Group has, since the 23rd of March, been providing 24 units of self-contained accommodation through The Beach Hotel, under the ‘Everyone In’ instruction from MHCLG. During the period to date, the hotel has provided accommodation for 74 individuals. Fifty of those have since moved on following the intensive support provided by the YMCA into sustaining their own tenancies in the community. The kitchen at the Beach has also served a wider purpose during this pandemic to date, in providing meals across Somerset and to those living at the YMCA, to encourage healthy eating and a balanced diet.

The re-purposing of the Gascony Hotel will allow for the re-opening of the Beach Hotel back to its intended purpose as a training hotel for apprentices and trainees, which for the past five years has provided over fifty young people with skills and qualifications to enter employment. Alongside this, the young people have been instrumental in the Beach Hotel receiving tourism awards both local and across the Southwest.

It is anticipated that the Gascony conversion will be completed by the end of March, with individuals housed at the Beach moving across immediately, giving the team at the Beach opportunity to refresh the Hotel, take off their support worker heads and get back into an exciting summer for tourism.

“I am so proud of the team at the Beach for re-acting so quickly and professionally to the Everyone In call, then sustaining this new piece of work, which was very new to some of us, for the past 10 months’ said Cara Strom Assistant Head of Community and Enterprise, adding ‘”the people we have met and supported along the way have made some life changing decisions whilst being with us, and seeing them moving on positively has made a difficult period a little easier’

Cllr Fran Smith, Executive Member for Housing at Somerset West and Taunton Council, said “I am delighted that we have been able to support YMCA Dulverton Group with this project, enabling them to continue their excellent work in the spirit of the ‘Everyone In’ campaign.

They have already achieved significant success working with partners to address the holistic needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our community to help them move on with their lives.”

Peter Stephenson Head of Development for YMCA Dulverton Group added “The conversion of the Gascony Hotel into new homes for people who were previously homeless shows what can happen when government bodies – national and local – and charities really put their minds to it and work together in a positive spirit of collaboration and determination. It has been a delight to work with Somerset West and Taunton Council and MHCLG both to bring “everyone in” and now to follow this up by creating new homes so those who were previously homeless can complete their journey to a much more hopeful future.”