A CHEF at one of York's most prestigious hotels has begun helping to feed the city's homeless.

Brian Roberts is head pastry chef at The Principal Hotel, and said his eyes had been opened after he started helping volunteers with HOPING Street Kitchen by making trays of food for rough sleepers.

He said: "I met a guy who's been on the streets for five years and just found out he's got terminal cancer. That really makes it hit home, when you think it can't get any worse.

"I'm working in a four star luxury hotel, I'm going out serving afternoon tea and meeting celebrities that come in. But you know some people will complain over the simplest thing, spending £400, £500 over a weekend, and you think there are people out there sleeping in the freezing cold, not getting a meal, who would love to be in the position those people are."

Brian started helping HOPING Street Kitchen after an encounter with a homeless man on his way to work several weeks ago, offering him and his dog spare food from the hotel's kitchen instead of money, and later started baking and cooking on his days off to help the city's homeless community.

The Press revealed in January that more than a quarter of all homeless deaths in Yorkshire and Humberside in 2017 took place in York, and has also reported on organisations including HOPING, Kitchen For Everyone, and City of York Council's efforts to help the city's homeless.

Brian praised the efforts of everyone who helped out, and said he had been surprised at the number of people who had come to rely on the volunteer foodbank and street kitchen.

He said: "I'm not in a position by any means where I can go out and splash out, but I feel I'm lucky to have a roof over my head. But these people are getting moved on and sleeping in doorways and that's quite sad to see.

"I've been doing this for a month and we've had 70 people waiting to be fed. Last night there were 40 or 50. I've lived in York for 25 years and going round town I honestly think it's getting worse, that's why I wanted to do something to help. What I do is such a small part of the HOPING York street kitchen.

"I make some food and help serve it on a Sunday evening. The rest of the volunteers give up all their spare time, collecting clothes, sleeping bags and food from stores. Even after we have fed them in Kings Square, any food left, they will drive round the city and give some to those that couldn't attend. I am proud to be part of the team but my part is minimal."

Another report in The Press today reveals a sharp rise in the number of homeless people admitted to hospital. 

City of York Council will consider a report into the issue next week.