WANDERERS chief executive Emma Beaugeard says the club will not make a penny from offering out rooms in the Bolton Whites Hotel to key workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Demand for bedrooms at the stadium has been high since the club put out a call on social media last week for NHS and other emergency service staff to use their facilities.

Operations at the hotel had been scaled down significantly since the start of March, when a number of business conferences and events were cancelled in the light of the government’s growing concern over COVID-19.

But Wanderers changed their tack after receiving requests from a handful of key workers to use the hotel as a means of isolating themselves from their family during unsociable working hours.

“We have had a few calls from key workers over the last few days requesting a room because we had shut down following the Boris (Johnson) statement on Monday night, it was difficult after we’d stepped down all our staff to reopen for one or two people,” CEO Beaugeard explained.

“Equally it was very difficult when they are asking for somewhere to stay and not allow them to come in. They have all got horrible stories, working on the front line of the NHS, can’t go home and expose their families, they are in desperate situations.

“We eventually decided we would reopen for the one or two and then having recognised the need we put out on social media a call to any key workers who may need accommodation. It has gone mad since then.

“We have fire brigade, ambulance service, all the hospitals around here – Bolton, Salford, Chorley, and it’s starting to fill up. But we are very glad we can do something for them.

“We’re still on skeleton staff and they (the key workers) all need to come in at different times of the day and night so they are very tired and just want a shower and a bed, so we give them a bag of food, something they can eat quickly before they return.

“But it’s just seeing the exhaustion on their faces. It’s shocking that there isn’t something better organised for them but I understand this situation has caught everyone slightly with their pants down.”

After officially declaring the hotel closed on March 24, Wanderers are now steadily increasing the number of staff working shifts in line with the increased demand for beds.

But Beaugeard says the club are not benefiting financially from re-opening the business.

“It has been tricky,” she said. “Since the beginning of March, really, it has fallen off a cliff with the growing threat – events being cancelled etc.

“We were already winding down on the staff, football matches weren’t happening and the hotel services the stadium on matchdays, so we were cranking back. To wind it back up again isn’t straightforward but the staff here are superb, and they have all come in on request, and we’re filtering more back as the bookings grow.

“We’re doing our best to provide sensible food and services to the guys – because they are not like a normal guest in the hotel, they are not demanding. They just need some quiet and some sustenance, and sleep. If that’s what we’ll give them, we will.

“We are doing it at cost and depending on what foundation or trust, we are sending it back at break-even cost to us. We will make nothing out of this but equally it’s the right thing to do.

“I’m living here and I can help with various sectors of the enterprise but we are not looking to make money – we’re just looking to do something while we are locked down and this is the best we can come up with.”

The effort at Wanderers is made all the more admirable by the fact Beaugeard has been directing operations at the same time as her father lay seriously ill in hospital.

He passed away on Saturday night, confirmed in a message on Instagram by the family.

“I could see the chaos starting at the hospitals already and that was a couple of weeks ago so I feel very, very sorry for the staff and everyone who is involved in this. It’s like a tsunami, it’s shocking," Beaugeard added.

“We all feel like this – I’m not some sort of warrior charging ahead. Everybody feels the same way.

“The idea of clapping and at least trying to acknowledge what the NHS are doing is lovely but we were luckily in a position where we could do something practical to help.

“So in a way, we feel quite honoured to be able to do that.”

Although not immune to the financial pressures of the current climate, Wanderers have been doing their best to look after fans – via the club’s charity arm, the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust.

“The community trust connected with BWFC are already doing some superb work, reaching out to our senior season ticket holders and making sure they get a phone call a day, we’re organising future care packages if they can’t get shopping,” Beaugeard explained to BBC Five Live. “We have got vulnerable kids – and we’re making sure they are not going to get forgotten – because while they are not particularly susceptible to the virus, per se, they are now off school and need attention.

“There’s a load parallel work we’re doing but the hotel is the main one.”