Friends and supporters of a Bristol family who lost their business and were left homeless after an alleged arson attack on the guest house they run have launched a fundraising appeal to help them.
The Sim family have run the Alpha Guest House in Southville for around 30 years, but the building is out of action now after two fires were started there a fortnight ago.
The family told Bristol Live how they felt let down by the council and support services, who left them with nowhere to go on the night of the fire.
Read more: Family’s horror as Bristol guest house goes up in flames
They said their elderly and disabled family members had to sleep on the floor of a shop after the fire attacks, which happened on Saturday, May 14.
Now, a fundraising campaign has already received more than £2,000 towards helping the family get back on their feet.
The appeal, set up by Belnice Nzinga, said the family are now living in temporary accommodation 13 miles away, and face a long road back to reopening the guest house on Coronation Road. She also said the family have had a long history of suffering racist attacks and anti-social behaviour in running the guest house and now the Sim family are ‘survivors of multiple arson attacks’. “The arson has destroyed the family home and place of business, a guest house, that they have run since the early 90s.
“This has traumatised the family, who include three elders, one of whom has mental health issues and all are disabled immigrants. Their priority is to repair and rebuild our home and livelihood as quickly as they can.
“The house has been deemed unsafe to live in and they have been staying in temporary accommodation 13 miles away – a double hotel room shared between four adults and two dogs,” the appeal explained.
The Alpha Guest House has been considerably damaged by the fires. “The top floor of the building has been gutted by the fire so the building currently does not have a roof. The remaining floors have had significant fire and water damage,” the appeal statement said.
“The guests staying on the top floor have had their possessions burnt to cinders. On the night of the fire, the only accommodation available to the elders in the family was the floor of a takeaway which was found without aid from the local authorities. If they are eventually able to claim insurance, it will be a matter of months if not years,” she added.
The appeal is for financial support for the family, who are hoping to raise some money to repair the guest house, with anything extra being donated to the guests who were staying there at the time who have lost their possessions.
“The Sim family are relying entirely on the council, a small amount of savings, and bank loans to cover the costs of rebuilding,” said Belnice’s fundraising appeal. “They hope to raise some money to help cover the immediate upfront costs and will do everything in their power to ensure money goes right back into the community. If they raise enough funds to cover our rebuild and loss, anything extra will support guests staying at the Guest House at the time of the fire,” she added.
“Any help or solidarity you can offer will be invaluable. The Sim family appreciate that times are tough so are grateful for any donation of any size. Sharing the petition on social media and with friends, family, and colleagues will go a long way,” she said.