A HOSTEL worker who daily puts himself in harm’s way to help homeless people is ‘proud’ of the team fighting on the frontline against coronavirus.

Pete Shirley, a senior project worker at St Paul’s Hostel in Worcester, says staff and residents have been working together to keep the hostel clean and safe during the pandemic. Homeless people and rough sleepers in particular are some of the most vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19. Work has been taking place involving Worcester City Council and other partners and charities to home all rough sleepers in Worcester during the crisis, putting them up in hostels, care homes, hotels and B&Bs.

Mr Shirley, 48, of Diglis, Worcester, is part of a team of seven at the hostel in Tallow Hill. He said: “It has been tough. I’m not going to deny it. That’s simply because some of the people we work with don’t fully understand how serious things are. We can’t cage them. It’s quite hard to get them to understand how severe or how serious it can get.”

However, he said many of the residents had responded very well and only going out for a single walk or to visit the pharmacy.

“We’re doing all we can. The cleaners are in every day,” he said.

Residents have also been doing extra work around the hostel to keep it clean, using bleach and disinfectant on door handles.

Some are wearing PPE, including masks and gloves, which they have secured themselves. The hostel is waiting for a delivery of PPE. Mr Shirley, himself homeless before securing his role at St Paul’s three years ago, said he had been lucky so far and had not become sick. He said: “I’m really proud of the team. They’re all stepping up. We’re all working together like a solid unit. We’re all like one massive family.”

Hostel chief executive Jonathan Sutton said: “Our Covid-19 plan, Operation Resilient Place, has been running for nearly three weeks. Our aim is to keep Covid-19 out of the hostel. Our team, are constantly nagging about keeping social distance and additional handwashing.

“Some residents have been helping in the kitchen, making pizza while others are staying in their rooms. We’ve ordered additional televisions, using a grant from Worcestershire Community Foundation Covid-19 appeal. Life is a bit dull for everyone but we are doing our bit to help the NHS.”