Paul Breeze has been appointed hotel manager of the UK's first hotel to be run by young people with autism and learning difficulties.
The Rivers hotel, formerly the Rivers Edge hotel, in Gateshead, relaunched recently following a £2m refurbishment, and is now operates as a hotel and facility for young people with learning difficulties to train for a career in hospitality.
Breeze (pictured), formerly food and beverage manager at the Copthorne Hotel Newcastle, has also previously worked for the Jolly Fisherman restaurant in Craster, Northumberland. In his new role he oversees the day-to-day running of the hotel alongside centre manager Holly Kelleher, who looks after the training side of the business.
He said: "This is the first time I have ever worked with young people with special needs, and I'm really enjoying it. I'm hoping to build the Rivers hotel into a place people come to socialise. At the end of the day, we want to make this a profitable business but also give young people the chance to establish themselves on the career ladder."
The hotel, which is owned by learning disabilities charity St Camillus Care, also features an American-style diner. St Camillus Care Group has partnered with Gateshead College and its Project Choice scheme, which helps young people with autism and learning difficulties find internships.
John Heron, who runs the St Camillus Care Group, added: "Paul comes to us with the experience and knowledge we need to put the Rivers hotel on the map. We know he is the perfect person to help take us forward."
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