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Old 19th October 2015, 10:55   #1
TanyaT
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Default Gary Neville tells homeless protest group they can stay at occupied site

Gary Neville tells homeless protest group they can stay at occupied site until February

By Todd Fitzgerald
MEN 19 Oct 2015


The United legend has made generous gesture to homeless people who have occupied former restaurant building he hopes to develop with pal Ryan Giggs and has vowed to help get them off the street

United legends Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs have reportedly told squatters who set up camp inside a landmark building they plan to turn into a plush hotel they can stay through the winter to help rough sleepers.

Homeless rights activists have taken up residence at Manchester’s historic Stock Exchange, claiming the legal right to occupy the building under squatter’s rights.

It’s part of their renewed attempt to set up a ‘community hub’ for rough sleepers.

The campaigners were kicked out of an empty office block on Charlotte Street in the city centre after police and council bosses secured a court order demanding they leave within 24 hours.

It was feared they’d soon be kicked out of the Stock Exchange building, reportedly bought by Reds icons Giggs and Neville for £1.5m.

But Manchester Angels leader Wesley Hall, a prominent campaigner for the city’s homeless, said he spoke to Neville on the phone - and that the group would be allowed to stay for a ‘few months’ during the winter.

He also said the former United star would help him with homeless ‘intervention’.

Mr Hall said Neville was 'saving lives', adding: “I was crying and shaking after I got off the phone. The graft has paid off.

“What a great guy Gary Neville is. We’ve been in negotiations with him and things are looking good. He said the main building work isn’t taking place until February, so we’ll be okay to stay until then.

“He’s having surveyors in tomorrow, with a bit of building work being done. I cheekily said to him he should have the homeless guys do it instead of labourers to give them a bit of work.

“I’m just in shock. He’s such an amazing guy. He told me he’s always tried to help out homeless people in Manchester, but wanted to do more.

“He said he was walking down Market Street one day and had the keys to the Stock Exchange. He said he was tempted to just open the doors and let homeless people in to get a roof over their heads.

“He knows we’ll look after the building and make proper use of it until the building work starts. This isn’t a long term thing, but we’ll have so much going on in here to help people.

“It’s exactly what Manchester needs right now.”

The Stock Exchange’s new residents spent Saturday evening erecting tents on the building’s sprawling marble floors and set about dividing vast rooms into living quarters.

Kitchens have also been set up and areas have been dedicated to classes on welfare rights and creative workshops.

The Grade II-listed building on Norfolk Street is set to be transformed into a plush hotel by the Reds legends.

It will feature 35 beds, a basement gym and spa, a roof-top private members’ terrace, a restaurant and a bar.

Mr Neville, joint owner of Hotel Football and Salford City FC, said he was ‘unavailable to speak’ when contacted by the M.E.N.

On Saturday night, he appeared to criticise Greater Manchester Police for posting details of the occupation - which were later deleted from the GMP City Centre account.

He posted: “Why are you tweeting it you idiots!”




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