Bus transformed into night shelter

Volunteers have launched Brighton's first homeless shelter on wheels after converting a double decker bus.

Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 8:50 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 6:33 am
Sussex Homeless Support's night shelter on a bus SUS-180130-171059001

Sussex Homeless Support is a group of volunteers making a ‘life changing’ difference to the homeless.

Volunteers have worked night and day over the past two months to turn the double decker into a space with ten beds for rough sleepers.

Jim Deans, founder of Sussex Homeless Support said: “I had seen this done in other cities, and after the council weren’t able to give us a building to use as a shelter, we bought the Compass Travel bus on ebay.

“We crowdfunded £3,000 to pay for the work that needed doing. We have been able to get a portable generator on board, a toilet, and ten beds.”

A team of up to 40 people have worked on converting the bus.

Mother of two, Sarah Cox, 39 from Cinque Foil in Peacehaven said: “I have been volunteering for more than five years. After being made homeless at 14, helping with this project is my way of paying forward goodwill.”

The project has relied upon the community coming together to donate materials.

Mr Deans said he could not thank councillor Tom Druitt, owner of The Big Lemon Bus depot, enough.

“Tom has given us space to park the bus while we were converting it, let us use his electricity, and now, he has given us a permanent space where we can park the bus during the day time,” he said.

The bus has been in operation for a week, parking at the soup kitchen on the seafront to pick up ten homeless people each evening before parking up at Maderia Drive.

Cllr Druitt said: “The members of Sussex Homeless Support have been amazing. They have worked non-stop for weeks, it’s incredible to see what people can do.”

“They have been engaging with the local community for donations and generating so much goodwill.”

Mr Druitt said he had spoken with one woman who spent a night on the bus who told him it had changed her life and was full of gratitude to the team.

Not just because she had a warm, dry bed for the night, but because it had given her hope, and a sense of belonging, he said.