Brenland family open shop in Ipswich’s Upper Orwell Street to fund homeless bus hostel

Gareth and Sarah Jane Brenland at the opening of their new second hand shop in Upper Orwell Street.

Gareth and Sarah Jane Brenland at the opening of their new second hand shop in Upper Orwell Street. Picture: Ashley Pickering - Credit: Ashley Pickering

The mastermind behind a plan to transform a bus into a night shelter for Ipswich’s rough sleepers is “taking a leap of faith” and quitting his day job to bring his dream to life.

Gareth and Sarah Jane Brenland and their daughter, Tiffani, celebrate by cutting a cake at the new s

Gareth and Sarah Jane Brenland and their daughter, Tiffani, celebrate by cutting a cake at the new shop. Picture: Ashley Pickering - Credit: Ashley Pickering

In just three months Gareth Brenland has managed to bag a free double decker and raise more than £5,000 through crowdfunding to convert it into a fully functioning hostel - which he hopes will be done by the end of this month.

Last weekend Mr Brenland and his wife, Sarah Jane, opened a new second hand store in Upper Orwell Street, selling items donated by members of the public, to generate cash for the day-to-day running of the shelter.

Tiffers The Bus Shelter Shop is open Monday to Saturday, and in the future the aim is to close the store to the public for an afternoon a week to allow registered rough sleepers to get a change of clothes for free.

This month Mr Brenland, 40 and from Holbrook, will give up his job as an electrician to focus all his efforts on the ambitious project.

He said: “I’m taking a leap of faith.”

Once complete, the bus will offer overnight accommodation to people living on the streets of Ipswich and will help guests access support services to enable them to get back into society and long-term housing.

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