How A Bus For The Homeless Is Helping Hospitality Sector Diversify

The hotel body for Manchester has paid tribute to a re-purposed tour bus once used by Sam Smith, David Guetta and Mumford & Sons.

Through its various recruitment drives, Manchester Hoteliers’ Association (MHA) has linked with the Embassy Bus, a homeless shelter for up to 14 people and stationed in Salford.

So far MHA has recruited a two people, who live or have lived in the Embassy Bus, into both full and part time roles in the hospitality sector across the region. This includes the Chancellors hotel, Manchester- owned by the University of Manchester, which has successfully recruited one individual and the Hilton hotel in Deansgate.

Former youth worker, Sid Williams, bought the bus and now dedicates his time to running it and providing temporary accommodation and support into permanent homes and full time employment.

It offers over 4000 nights’ sleep for the homeless over the course of one year and acts as a lifeline for those in the city that need rest, support and a route back into a community.

MHA member Fiona Lockyer, speaking during a visit to the Embassy Bus, said: “When Sid Williams came to MHA and introduced us to Embassy Bus, it completely resonated with me because homelessness can be a turn of the card, where somebody has either made a wrong choice or just got unlucky. Sid and the way he has transformed the bus through his Embassy charity is doing something very practical and very tangible to help these individuals.”

“Through MHA’s partnership with Embassy, we find people who perhaps haven’t considered hospitality, but have got a lot to give. One of our core objectives is to help the membership find good people and we can find them through avenues that are less than typical; I call it social responsibility recruitment.

“There is a good fit because you’ve got good people who have been dealt a bad card and you’ve got employers who have opportunities and need to recruit.

“So far, we have had a 100% success rate and have never been let down, because the people being recruited understand the importance of work. They have come in and embraced the workplace, and they leave us with a set of skills, a newfound confidence and a bit of credibility.”

The diversification of recruitment to plug the skills gap in the hospitality industry is one of MHA’s most critical four strategic initiatives. The others include conferences and economic impact, sustainability and environmental support.

Sid Williams, founder of Embassy, said: “Working with MHA creates the sort of scenario where everybody wins. The chaps win because they’ve got a real meaningful way out of poverty and the hotels hopefully benefit once they’ve learned to work, because they’ve got reliable and loyal staff.

“It’s not just any job, it’s an opportunity and when I see them, they are more confident because they are no longer just an end receiver of aid, they’re guys that are giving back, working and inputting into the community again.

“I suppose it’s an obvious correlation, we do beds and hoteliers’ do beds. I’m hoping it’s the beginning of a really positive relationship with the MHA.”