It all started with a single thought of helping the homeless in these cold months…
Gareth and Sarah Brenland started a Facebook page “Keeping Ipswich Homeless Warmer” where they asked the people of Ipswich for donations of warm clothing, sleeping bags, pillows etc and the response was overwhelming. They would go out every Tuesday and Thursday evening (more frequent when the weather deteriorated).
Gareth and Sarah would offer the warmer clothes, sleeping bags, socks and a coffee, just making sure they had what they needed to survive on the streets. By doing this and talking to them they realised Ipswich homeless are in need, there is something extra needed in Ipswich for the homeless and they thought a branch of the growing ‘The Bus Shelter UK’ network was exactly what was needed.
After seeing an article about The Shelter IOW where Kevin Newton had converted a double decker bus into a hostel for the homeless, they decided that was what they were going to do. They had spoken with Kevin who had agreed that they could use the “The Bus Shelter” branding and they gained help and advice from Kevin and his team from the Isle of Wight.
The conversion had mainly been completed by Gareth with the help of a handful of volunteers and local businesses donating materials to help the project complete as cost effectively as possible.
The bus has been designed with 14 sleeping pods, each with a USB charging point, LED lighting and privacy curtains. Upstairs there is also a fully fitted shower room with toilet, basin and shower. The bus has also been fitted with a functional kitchen plus a lounge and dining area.
There will be a programme that each guest must sign up to which will include any rehab required, whether it be drink or drugs misuse, mental health issues and plan for volunteer work at least one day a week within the local community.
The project has been named ‘TIFFERS’ after Gareth and Sarah’s 15 year old daughter Tiffani who has been an inspiration throughout their journey in helping the homeless. Tiffani has been with her parents every evening they have been out and enjoyed chatting to guys/girls they stop and help. She is as dedicated to the project as they are.
What is The Bus Shelter?
The Bus Shelter is a UK network of converted double decker buses to provide temporary housing solutions and extra support for the homeless in our towns.
Who will The Bus Shelter benefit?
The Bus Shelter will be a valuable support service to the homeless. Not only will it provide a warm, dry and safe place to sleep, it will work along side main stream services to provide out of hours support and counselling.
Why is The Bus Shelter needed?
The Bus Shelter will provide a stable base to give the homeless what they need to start rebuilding their lives. It will be their temporary home allowing them to access all the necessary services as well as providing suitable voluntary work placement within the local borough. Reminders and help to get to appointments will also be available for all guests staying on the bus.
To provide rough sleepers with a warm and dry environment as well as hot food and the support they need to get back into society.