Property investor backs initiatives to help NHS workers

Listed Leeds-based property investor and car parking operator, Town Centre Securities  (TCS) has launched a series of initiatives to help the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic.

These include free car parking with CitiPark, concessionary hotel accommodation and lighting its flagship car park blue to mark the heroic work of NHS staff.

In addition, TCS is also championing schemes set up by its extensive tenant base, including exclusive shopping slots for NHS workers, the elderly and vulnerable.

The initiatives follow on from an open letter by TCS chairman and chief executive, Edward Ziff, who is also chairman of Leeds Cares, the charity partner of Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Ziff urged Yorkshire businesses to back a Leeds Cares charity appeal for NHS hospitals and its healthcare workers.

TCS subsidiary and parking operator, CitiPark is providing free parking for NHS workers in support of their hard work during the Covid-19 outbreak at a variety of car parks nationwide.

The Merrion Centre, TCS’ single largest asset, has given use of its ibis Styles Leeds City Centre Arena hotel which is located close to the LGI and is currently one of the only hotels in Leeds to remain open to further support NHS staff.

In line with current Government guidelines, several supermarkets and pharmacies with stores at TCS’ largest single asset, the Merrion Centre, will remain open for essential items and offer exclusive shopping slots set up for the elderly, vulnerable and NHS workers.

Iceland, Morrisons (open for NHS workers only between 7am-8am), Boots Pharmacy, Heron Foods, Home Bargains, Holland & Barrett, Sing-Kee Supermarkets, the NHS Sexual Health Clinic and Wilkos have all remained open, though with some operating reduced hours.

Several tenants based at the Merrion Centre are also backing the cause by adapting their businesses to offer delivery services to customers.

In addition to its new delivery service, owners of My Thai on Wade Lane are operating a ‘soup kitchen’ service (#inittogether) serving food to key workers and the vulnerable that are unable to leave their homes.

Ziff said: “Each of us will have our own stories about how the NHS has been there for us in time of need.

“My own son Jacob was cured of childhood leukaemia by hospital staff in Leeds. As the NHS prepares for its own challenging and difficult days ahead, I urge Yorkshire businesses to pull together to do what they can to support NHS staff working on the front line.

“We hope our own and the initiatives of our tenants will go some way to help vital healthcare staff in these unprecedented times, as well as the elderly and vulnerable who have been impacted.

“Our ibis Styles Leeds City Centre Arena hotel and the CitiPark Merrion Centre car park have now been made available to Leeds Teaching Hospitals for as long as they are needed throughout the outbreak and we look forward to welcoming their hard working teams.”

Joe Morris, operations director, Home Bargains, said: “We have allocated the first hour to allow our elderly and vulnerable customers access to buy essential items.

“We have also set limits on how our shoppers come into the store to follow the social distancing guidelines and are giving NHS workers priority access so they go to the front of the queue.”

Simon Grybas, co-owner of My Thai, said: “The requirement for this facility has exceeded our expectations.

“As such we are continuing to appeal for donations and volunteers to help My Thai in preparing and delivering food to these key workers.”