COMMUNITIES Minister Penny Mordaunt took a trip to the seaside on Monday as she visited Minehead’s Beach Hotel.
The hotel, which is run by the Somerset Coast YMCA and opened its doors earlier this year, was awarded £332,000 from the Coastal Community Fund.
The money was to help refurbish the place into a modern, working hotel, creating new jobs and apprenticeships, as well as improving tourism.
Ms Mordaunt visited the town to see how the hotel had transformed itself in less than a year.
She told the County Gazette: “I am very impressed with what I have seen here. It is what the Fund is all about, helping to boost a town and also giving young people a chance to get into employment and jobs and training.
“The skills they learn here will help them throughout life with whatever career they go on to choose.”
Hotel manager Dave Jackson and Martin Hodgson, YMCA chief executive, were on hand to give Ms Mordaunt a tour along with apprentice Louise Watkins.
Mr Hodgson said: “It was great to meet with the Minister and to show her all the good work the young people have carried out in the hotel.
“I think we were able to show how wisely the money from the Coastal Communities Fund has been spent.”
Some of Minehead’s key figures, including town Mayor Cllr Les Smith, also met the Minister along with West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger to discuss the next steps for the town.
Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “It has been fantastic to have Penny down and for her to meet key figures from the town.
“The YMCA has done a fantastic job and it just proves that, if done right, Minehead has so much to offer.
“We will be working on strategy plan for Minehead now to potentially unlock some more funding and take the town forward.”
Ms Mourdant added: “I will be using the Beach Hotel as an example to other coastal towns looking to a similar thing.
“Part of the point in my visits is to see what towns are doing well and then to put them in touch with other towns so they can share their ideas and knowledge to then help that town run a successful similar scheme.”