Cornwall holiday park asks guests to help clean toilets

Mother Ivey’s, with its own private beach, has asked guests to help with toilet duties if staff are pinged

GUESTS TAKING HOLIDAYS at a major Cornwall holiday park this summer are being asked to swap the beach for a toilet brush during their stay.

Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park in Padstow says staff shortages could force the closure of his toilet blocks, and is trying to rally a volunteer army of loo legionnaires.

More than 20 people have so far stepped forward with offers to help, according to Patrick Langmaid, owner of the 30-year-old family business.

“Like many tourism providers we are desperate to recruit staff, but the staycation boom and the easing of lockdown has created more jobs than there are people to fill them.

“Unless we can find enough volunteers to give up part of their holidays to keep our toilets spotless, we could have to start cancelling stays already booked for this summer.

Patrick Langmaid hopes guests will join his park’s toilet chain gang

“That would be an absolute tragedy as we’ve hundreds of families desperately looking forward to their first real break since the pandemic began,” said Patrick.

The multi-award winning park provides luxury caravan holiday homes, both privately owned and for hire, plus pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents.

It’s the pitch occupiers which use the toilet blocks, and Mother Ivey’s has adopted a regular deep-cleaning regime to ensure the facilities meet the highest hygiene standards.

“We aren’t prepared to compromise on this, which is why we have emailed all our customers, not just touring guests, and asked if they would be willing to pitch in.

“There have been a few raised eyebrows, but the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive – and seems to reflect the mood of the nation that we’re all in this together.

“It’s fantastic to see Cornwall’s tourism sector riding high, but like so many other businesses we are on a knife-edge when it comes to providing a service to customers.

“The need for members of our team to self-isolate could come at a moment’s notice, and if nobody is available to take on their toilet cleaning duties we will be suddenly dropped in it.

“It could mean an immediate shut-down and booked guests being told to stay at home.

“Our only hope is to have a detachment of volunteers already staying with us to be armed with brushes and mops, and ready to roll their sleeves up,” said Patrick.

Mother Ivey’s Bay will this year give away around 200 free holidays to NHS workers and others who helped Britain keep going during the Covid crisis.

Patrick says it will be “beyond awful” if any of these no-cost stays have to be cancelled because of staff shortages.

Mother Ivey’s employs around 25 full and part-time staff at its beach-side park, and offers above-average pay in order to help recruit and retain employees.

Patrick is a campaigner for the Living Wage Foundation which has presented him with a special award for his tireless efforts to promote the benefits of fair pay in hospitality.

“Everyone needs and deserves a holiday this summer after all the lockdowns, and I’m so grateful that guests are coming forward to help us deliver these,” he says.