THE charity which is converting a Minehead hotel into accommodation for vulnerable people has provided an update on their plans for the site.

The Gascony Hotel, which is on the corner of The Avenue and Tregonwell Road in the West Somerset town, has been sold to YMCA Dulverton Group - after being operated by Derek and Angela Tomlinson for almost 23 years.

Now the YMCA group has begun the task of transforming the building into accommodation for people who are on the road from homelessness to independence.

READ MORE: Minehead hotel owners sell up after 20 years

The scheme has been made possible thanks to investment from the YMCA, Somerset West & Taunton Council and the Ministry for Housing Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) through Homes England.

Gascony House will provide 18 units of accommodation to support individuals to begin their lives again, following in the footsteps of the Beach Hotel, which is also in Minehead.

Since March 23 last year, the Beach has been providing 24 units of self-contained accommodation, and in that time it has houses 74 individuals - 50 of them moving on into sustaining their own tenancies in the community.

The kitchen at the Beach has also served a wider purpose during the Covid-19 pandemic, 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 in its intended purpose as a training hotel for apprentices and trainees, which for the past five years has provided more than 50 young people with skills and qualifications to enter employment.

It is anticipated that the Gascony conversion will be completed by the end of March 2021, with individuals housed at the Beach moving across immediately, giving the team at the Beach opportunity to refresh the hotel and get ready for summer tourism.

Peter Stephenson, head of development for YMCA Dulverton Group, said: “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."

Cllr Fran Smith, executive member for housing at Somerset West & Taunton Council, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to support YMCA Dulverton Group with this project.

"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."