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Welsh Couple Transform Double Decker Bus Into Homeless Shelter

by : Emily Brown on : 12 Dec 2019 09:22
Double decker bus converted into homeless shelterDouble decker bus converted into homeless shelterWales Online

A couple have transformed a double decker bus into an incredible mobile homeless shelter with beds, showers, toilets and a kitchen to help those in need. 

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The HOPE bus is set to be on the road in a few weeks’ time following more than a year of tireless fundraising from minibus driver Ian Smith, his wife Tammy and other volunteers with the Helping Open People’s Eyes (HOPE) group.

Ian and Tammy, from Cefn Fforest, Blackwood, had the idea for the travelling shelter after coming across a similar project, Bristol Home for the Night, last year.

Double decker bus converted into homeless shelterDouble decker bus converted into homeless shelterWales Online

The couple have made a habit out of helping the homeless over the last four years but after being inspired by the converted bus used for Bristol Home for the Night, created by Jasper Thompson, they started fundraising last October for a shelter for their own.

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HOPE is not a registered charity, so the group had to rely on raffles and donations to fund the innovative project. Ian, 44, was eventually able to buy a working double decker for around £5,000 and set to work converting it into a place of refuge.

The minibus driver and volunteers worked to install 12 beds, cooking facilities, showers and even a little lounge to allow those without a home to enjoy a night of warmth and comfort. The whole project cost nearly £20,000 and the group are still fundraising to pay for the running of the bus.

Doublce decker bus converted into homeless shelterDoublce decker bus converted into homeless shelterWales Online

The mobile homeless shelter still requires a few repairs but Ian hopes it will be on the road in a matter of weeks.

Speaking of the project, the 44-year-old said:

We have been feeding the homeless for the last four years.

It is getting more and more common and we are seeing a lot more people on the streets.

[The bus] has been hard work but worth it.

We want to get it out before Christmas but it is just whether we can get through these repairs. But we are still looking for funding. To take the bus from Cefn Fforest to Newport is £60 in fuel.

Double decker bus converted into homeless shelterDouble decker bus converted into homeless shelterWales Online

Once the bus is out on the road, it will be manned by at least two of the group’s volunteers. HOPE plan to use the shelter for a few nights a week at first, though the group may look to extend in the future.

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You can find out how to donate to HOPE via the website.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Blackwood, Bus, Fundraising, homeless, Shelter, Wales