A FORMER police training centre on the outskirts of Taunton is being converted into units to keep rough sleepers and homeless people safe during the coronavirus crisis.

The self-contained Canonsgrove Hall accommodation in Trull, which normally houses Bridgwater and Taunton College students, will offer people three meals a day and support.

The initiative, due to open in the middle of next week, will help the homeless tenants to self isolate and social distance, something which their lifestyle makes difficult.

The YMCA Dulverton Group will manage the site on behalf of Somerset West and Taunton Council, as well as making the group's Beach Hotel in Minehead available.

A council spokeswoman said: "Local homeless charity Arc will also be supporting and encouraging clients from all of their properties to move to Canonsgrove.

"This will ensure that those at high risk have option to self-isolate and will provide a more suitable setting for social distancing measures.

"A whole range of other organisations have been working with us at very short notice to donate their time and support to make this possible and ensure that the new residents of Canonsgrove will receive the right support once they move in."

Among organisations supporting the project are Raft, the Salvation Army, Open Door, Turning Point, Arc and many statutory bodies.

Council leader Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts said: “The council would like to pass on its thanks to the YMCA and all of these organisations for their amazing help at this difficult time.”

Canonsgrove was for a number of years the training base for police cadets.