A dream is about to come true for a woman who is passionate about helping the homeless following her recent plea for a double-decker bus.
Joanne Vines from Lee On Solent wanted to get a double-decker bus with a vision to converting the interior to provide cooking, showering and sleeping facilities for the homeless community of Portsmouth. She made contact to local bus operator Stagecoach, and upon hearing Joanne's vision for the bus, the firm who run regular bus services across Havant & Portsmouth were delighted to offer up a retired double-decker bus free of charge.
Edward Hodgson, Managing Director for Stagecoach South said: "We are delighted to help such a worthwhile project and one that will make a real difference to people in the community."
Joanne was inspired through her work with the Rucksack project which she has run in Portsmouth for the last four years. Through this project, she has collected over 10,000 rucksacks that were distributed to homeless people and charities and has met many homeless people herself.
When Stagecoach contacted Joanne to offer her a double-decker bus dhe said: "I was truly humbled by the offer from Stagecoach, It’s quite overwhelming to say the least."
Joanne now needs the community to get involved in converting the bus into a place to provide cooking, showering and sleeping facilities for those on the streets.
Joanne said, "I need to assemble a little team to help with the project. We have some wonderful support from First Wessex and Rich Products. I am hoping even more people will come forward with relevant trade experience who can help kit the bus out. So far, a few businesses have got involved to offer a kitchen and plumbing."
Joanne is hoping that the community which helped her so much with the Rucksack project will show their generosity yet again and that is why she wants the bus to be for Portsmouth. She said, "The criteria is it stays in Portsmouth. It's all about us and our city. More than £2,000 has already been donated by members of the public which is fantastic"
Originally Joanne had given herself 10 months to get the bus up and running. But because the bus has already been donated and the money started rolling in, she now hopes to have it ready by September.
Once finished, the bus will have space for 12 beds, showers, a kitchen and toilets.