Double-decker bus transformed into mobile night shelter for the homeless

Converted London bus now contains 12 bunk beds, showers, toilets and kitchen

Volunteers spent a year and £20,000 to convert the red double-decker
Volunteers spent a year and £20,000 to convert the red double-decker

A small group of volunteers in Wales have converted a double-decker bus into a portable night shelter for homeless people.

Helping Open People’s Eyes (HOPE) have been trying to support rough sleepers in Gwent for about four years, but decided a year ago to fundraise to buy a bus having been inspired by a similar project in Bristol.

Ian and Tammy Smith, the couple who lead HOPE, bought the second-hand vehicle for £5,000 and have spent 12 months refitting it with beds, showers, toilets, and a kitchen.

The work on the mobile shelter is now complete and the iconic red London double-decker will be officially launched in the coming weeks, after £20,000-worth of work was done.

Mr Smith said the project had been hard work but worth it. “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,” he told WalesOnline.

“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.”

The group, which is so informal it has not even coalesced into its own charity, is still fundraising to try and cover the costs of converting the bus.

They have launched a crowdfunding campaign online, which so far has collected donations of £1,000 towards its £8,000 target.

“The amount of help and support has been unbelievable; everybody has pulled together and now the bus is nearly finished,” Mr Smith wrote on the website.

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“We are asking if you could spare anything and I mean anything, even if it’s a pound – every single penny goes to the homeless, we do not take out any money whatsoever for ourselves. We put our own fuel in and pay for our own expenses so 100 per cent goes on the bus.”

HOPE intends to expand its work once the bus project is complete and recruit new volunteers who can specialise in offering support to the homeless for drug and alcohol addictions, or housing issues.

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