Couple to launch The Bus Shelter Ipswich helping homeless people following ‘overwhelming’ support

An Ipswich family have been so inundated with clothing for the homeless that they have taken on a st

An Ipswich family have been so inundated with clothing for the homeless that they have taken on a storage unit in the town. Pictured l-r, Sarah, Tiffani and Gareth Brenland. Picture: GARETH BRENLAND - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich couple have started three charitable ventures helping homeless people after being overwhelmed by their appeal for donations of clothing.

Gareth and Sarah Brenland, both aged 40, posted an appeal online recently but became “inundated” with so much clothing that they quickly ran out of space at their home and needed to expand into a storage unit in town.

They have also set up a charity shop and are converting a bus for homeless people to sleep in.

Mr Brenland said: “We are completely overwhelmed by the generosity of the general public.

“What started as a Facebook appeal for donations, soon snowballed until we had enough clothes to fill a large department store.

“Each night we would load up the car with donated clothes, hot water, tea, coffee and snacks and drive around Ipswich handing out items and a warming drink to Ipswich’s homeless.”

Mrs Brenland added: “The donations kept coming in and we couldn’t give them away quickly enough.

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“Keeping this volume of clothing at home was no longer manageable, so we transferred the majority of the items across into a StorageMart self storage unit.

“Here we could have access to the clothes 24/7 and know that they were safe and secure while we were out and about talking to people on the streets.”

Following the support for their initial venture, the couple decided to embark upon two sister projects – a shop for the homeless and a fully mobile bus shelter.

The bus shelter is hoped to build on the work of Tiffers The Bus Shelter Shop at Upper Orwell Street, which is said to have helped many homeless people over recent months by raising funds and providing a safe space for them.

The couple is now seeking to convert the entire top deck of a donated double decker bus into a comfortable sleeping space for homeless people.

Once complete, the renovated bus will be able to sleep 14 homeless people each night, acting as a short-term solution to people facing homelessness.

The free launch party for The Bus Shelter Ipswich is from 11am-6pm on Bank Holiday Monday, August 28, at Christchurch Park.

Visitors will be able to watch live singing, try their luck at the tombola, have their face painted and explore the bus, while raising funds for the project.