A HOTEL offering respite breaks for cancer patients is set to close for good because of the coronavirus crisis.

All 34 staff at The Grove, on Bournemouth’s East Cliff, face redundancy after the Covid-19 lockdown left its operator in a “heartbreaking” position.

The hotel is subsidised by Macmillan Caring Locally, the local charity that supports the Macmillan Unit at Christchurch Hospital.

It said the coronavirus had a “huge impact” on donations and that if the slump continued, its support of the Macmillan Unit could also be at risk.

Neal Williams, trust secretary for the charity, said: “Many of the staff have worked with us since The Grove opened in 2011, and some worked for us before that when we owned the Albany Lodge Hotel in Southbourne.

“This is an incredibly difficult time for the charity and we are in a position whereby we now have to look at reducing our costs to ensure that we can sustain our core services going forward.

“Whilst we are rightly proud of The Grove and the staff that work there, the current situation means that we have to make some very hard decisions about what is affordable and how our expenditure best serves our charitable purposes.

“It would be very difficult, and expensive, for us to make changes to The Grove to enable it to accept guests under the current guidelines and this would, inevitably, have a significant impact on other areas of our operation.

“As a result of this, a formal proposal has been made to permanently close the premises and make all employees who work there redundant.”

He added: “It is heartbreaking that we are now in a position whereby we may see the end of so much hard work and effort.”

The Grove is leased to Macmillan Caring Locally, which is not related to the national charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

Mr Williams said: “Lockdown, quarantining and shielding made for an empty hotel.

“Most of our guests are medically vulnerable; some will find it challenging to travel to us safely on public transport and, even if they can get here, we would find it extremely difficult to accommodate them in an environment which meets the exacting standards relating to social distancing and other measures with which we are expected to comply.”

He added: “The Grove is a multi-award-winning hotel thanks to the hard work, dedication and compassion of our staff and volunteers.

“They have created a wonderful, welcoming environment where their guests can relax, be entertained and enjoy the company of others, whilst forgetting the daily routines of hospital visits.

“Like most charities we have seen a huge impact on donations through the cancellation of all our fundraising events. We are working very hard to address this, but the reality is that, if this continues, our support of the Macmillan Unit could also be at risk.

“Our trustees have been left with no option but to consider the sale of our interest in The Grove or its closure.

“The advice we have received suggests that we are unlikely to receive much interest in the sale of our current lease, so we must prepare for the worst and now look towards making redundancies to minimise any further impact on the charity as a whole.”