Beds & Bars launches relief scheme

Pan-European backpacker hostel operator Beds and Bars launched a fantastic scheme called 💛LifeHouse🏠 to support and protect its employees amidst the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought to the hospitality industry

💛LifeHouse🏠 which has been set up by the directors of Beds and Bars, offers any employee of the company a place to live in its hostels until the company returns to some kind of stability and normality

Keith Knowles OBE, CEO of Beds and Bars says

We are offering a bed with breakfast and a daily group dinner in any of our hostels across the UK. During these difficult times, we have a responsibility to protect and support our incredible people who form the backbone of our business.”

To qualify for housing, an employee must work for Beds and Bars or have recently worked for them and took the decision to leave due to employment uncertainty. 

A large percentage of the Beds and Bars workforce is made up of European, Australian and New Zealand expats who have immigrated to the UK to work in the hospitality industry. Many of its team members applied to work with the hostel brand after backpacking in Europe and experiencing the vibrant industry for themselves.

With over 50 nationalities within the business, many of its young team members are unable to travel back to their home countries to be with families with the recent travel restrictions that have been put in place during this uncertain period. Keith says

“It’s the least we could do to ensure nobody is without a home. They are welcome to stay with us so they don’t have to go through this unprecedented situation alone. We’re doing what we can to make their situation better and putting strict health and safety procedures in place at each venue, as recommended by the WHO.”

Team members have been extremely positive about the scheme. A UK team member from Beds and Bars sent a message to the senior team saying

“(the team) they have all told me to give you massive thanks for what you are doing for us, a roof over our heads and keeping us fed. You are an amazing role model to us and I have never been looked after so well in tough times as you have done for me. So I’ll take this time to thank you for everything and look forward to the future with Belushi’s and Beds and Bars. I feel proud to be a part of the family. Thank you”

Like most other hospitality businesses in the UK, Beds and Bars has been hit hard by the prevalence of COVID-19 worldwide and has had no choice but to close its doors for the foreseeable future until it’s safe enough to start trading again. The company saw a complete closure of its UK bars and hostels almost 3 weeks ago following on from the closure of its
European businesses throughout the beginning of March. During the unpredictable time, ahead of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme being announced there was a lot of uncertainty and concerned team members. This left some staff members in difficult financial positions and so Beds and Bars made it a priority to ensure that all teams were kept safe and housed until certainty and stability returned.

Murray Roberts, Managing Director of Beds and Bars says

“We are very pleased to say that we held out for as long as we financially could and did not lose any UK team members, only saying farewell to those that decided to head back home to stay with family if they could, while the storm passes. We are very grateful for the team’s trust in us, and us in them.”

During the lockdown phase of the Coronavirus across Europe we have almost 95% of our employees now on furlough or the European equivalent. We have made it our top priority to maintain engagement with our team using Facebook Workplace where we have weekly lineups of live streamed activity including things such as yoga + meditation, exercise classes, live DJ sets from someones front living room, games tournaments, dance
challenges and general uplifting and useful content.

Sophie Herbert, the Marketing and Sales Director of Beds and Bars says

“The health and wellbeing of our amazing people is of utmost importance, and we will continue to put them first throughout the Coronavirus crisis. It is important to keep everyone as engaged as possible because this is a difficult time for everyone, especially for those who are away from home. Shortly this will all be over and we will want our community to come back positive, feeling refreshed and prepared – ready to rebuild our incredible business and come out of this bigger and better.”

Find out more about BETA member St Christopher’s Inns here