Campaign for Ipswich’s homeless bus hostel reaches half-way point

Gareth Brenland with family, Sarah Jane and Tiffany.

Gareth Brenland with family, Sarah Jane and Tiffany.

A fundraising appeal to buy a bus and convert it into a night shelter for Ipswich’s rough sleepers has reached half its target.

Gareth Brenland, of Holbrook, said he was “overwhelmed” by the response and thanked supporters for pledging more than £2,500 towards the campaign.

He said: “It’s absolutely outstanding. I can’t thank people enough.

“We have got no end of volunteers willing to help, not only with the conversion but after as well.”

This weekend Mr Brenland, who is embarking on the mission with his wife Sarah Jane and daughter Tiffany, is looking for a suitable space to open a charity shop to sell donated items and raise further cash for the project.

At the start of this week the Brenland family visited the Isle of Wight to meet Kevin Newton, who kickstarted the movement by opening the UK’s first homeless bus shelter last year.

The idea has spread and there are now plans forming to start similar schemes in other towns and cities, including Milton Keynes and Brighton.

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Mr Brenland, 40, said: “It was an invaluable experience seeing the bus in the flesh and speaking to the volunteers and people on the bus.

“It showed us what can be achieved.”

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