Ryan Giggs: The reason me and Gary Neville are helping homeless
Ryan Giggs has revealed why he’s allowed homeless people to live on the site of the plush hotel he plans to build with fellow Manchester United legend Gary Neville.
The pair hit the headlines earlier this year when it emerged they’d given the green light for squatters to stay in the Stock Exchange building in Manchester’s city centre.
Homeless rights activists had taken up residence in the historic building, claiming the legal right to occupy the site under squatter’s rights.
It all formed part of the group’s renewed attempt to set up a community hub for rough sleepers in the city. They had feared they’d be kicked out of the building, which has been bought by Giggs and Neville for a sum believed to be in the region of £1.5m.
But the Red Devils legends decided to allow the group to stay in the building for a few months over the winter in a gesture of goodwill which made national news.
“I got a call from Gary Neville saying we had some homeless people in the building and he asked what should we do about it,” Giggs explained to WalesOnline.
“We decided to let them stay. We just felt it was the right decision to make.”
Giggs and Neville plan to build what the Wales legend describes as a “boutique” hotel on the site as they continue to expand their business portfolio following their retirement from football.
Plans say the hotel will feature 35 bedroooms, a basement gym and spa, a roof-top private members’ terrace, a restaurant and a bar.
But with work on the building not starting until the early months of 2016, a small section of Manchester’s homeless are set to stay in the Stock Exchange over the Christmas period.
It’s a move which has left those staying on the site delighted.
Wesley Hall, leader of the Manchester Angels, a group which aims to protect Manchester’s homeless population, said in October the actions of Giggs and Neville would save the lives of those involved.
Giggs added: “Work on the building isn’t due to start until early next year so we decided to let them stay. After some discussions we decided that was the way to go.
“We talked to them and said it was OK as long as you don’t wreck the place.
Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville tell homeless people they can stay in building they own over winter
“As I’ve said we felt it was the right thing to do. The work is starting in late January or early February so before we got the structured plans we thought we’d let them stay.
“We are in constant dialogue with the people there and hopefully it’s going OK for them.”