UK soccer legends let homeless spend winter in a stock exchange


Winter is always hard for the homeless. But some of the luckier of Britain's less fortunate have been given refuge this winter… in a stock exchange.

A group of homeless people living in the U.K.'s former Manchester stock exchange have been allowed to stay for the winter, by its current owners: two former Manchester United players, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.

Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs at a English Premier League football match on May 16, 2009.
Adrian Dennis | AFP | Getty Images

The high profile soccer personalities are currently renovating the former bourse building in Manchester to transform it into a boutique hotel after reportedly buying it for £1.5 million ($2.3 million).

After being asked to leave a vacant office block, the homeless rights campaigners—named Manchester Angels—moved in to the stock exchange, using squatter's rights as a reason to stay.

Despite fresh fears of another eviction, Manchester Angels' leader, Wesley Hall, confirmed on social media that he had spoken to Neville over the phone and that they would be able to stay for "a few months over winter."


Speaking to Manchester Evening News, Hall said that Gary Neville was "such an amazing guy" for letting the homeless stay in stock exchange.

"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," Hall told the local newspaper, adding that Neville should let the homeless guys help out with the renovation work.

The future boutique hotel is expected to feature 35 beds, a spa, gym, restaurant, bar and a roof-top private members' terrace. Both Giggs and Neville have an expanding portfolio in restaurants and hotel businesses.

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Since the news broke, many people are interested in giving a helping hand. Community group, The Real Junk Food Project, will help deliver a food project to the exchange, while Manchester Angels revealed on their site that a "household name chef" was interested in providing a Christmas meal for the homeless.

The homeless project set up at the exchange has now been called "The Sock Exchange" which will provide new clothes and food, for those who need a roof to live under during the coming months.

"(Neville) 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," Hall said.

"It's exactly what Manchester needs right now."

By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her on Twitter @AlexGibbsy.