A Stamford couple who run Riverside Apartments in the town have been offering stays at a discounted rate to NHS staff and key workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Darren Grigas and his partner Sarah King have been offering their four holiday apartments to those who are being forced to self-isolate or relocate away from their families to carry out essential work during the pandemic.

“We’re so pleased to have been able to help in some small way; we didn’t want to be seen as profiting in any way from this awful situation, we just wanted to play our part in doing what we could to help those who desperately needed accommodation during the crisis,” said Darren.

Before the global pandemic struck, things were going well for the couple who began operating the business and running the fully serviced apartments just over two and a half years ago.

“We’ve had nurses working at Peterborough Hospital stay in our apartments as well as electricians and engineers deemed as key workers working as part of first responder teams in the area.

“We also had a family with two small children – stuck between two homes – stay in one of our apartments after they were unable to proceed with their house move and ship their furniture, leaving them stuck.”

Stays for Heroes is an initiative launched by online booking specialist Eviivo. Over 15,700 homes have already been listed on the website by accommodation providers who are providing temporary homes to NHS trusts, companies and individuals seeking accommodation.  

Darren added: “As soon as we heard about the Stays for Heroes initiative, we got on board and offered all four of our holiday apartments at the lowest possible price.

“Our NHS and key workers have been working incredibly hard to keep the country safe and we wanted to do what we could to relieve the tremendous pressure they’re under by providing temporary accommodation for those who are forced to work away from their families during this time.”

The hospitality industry has been severely impacted by the pandemic. After the lockdown was announced, Darren and Sarah received calls from many customers cancelling their stays.

Despite experiencing a loss of £30,000 owing to cancelled stays, many of those who had planned to stay in the Riverside Apartments have re-booked for next year in a bid to support the independent business.

Darren added: “It’s nice that most of our customers have chosen to re-book with us. We have customers from all over the world come and visit Stamford and the surrounding area – from places like Japan, Canada and Australia.

“Like them, we’re looking forward to the day Stamford opens again.”