Holbrook family’s bid to buy a bus and turn it into a night shelter for the homeless in Ipswich

Gareth Brenland with family, Sarah Jane and Tiffany.

Gareth Brenland with family, Sarah Jane and Tiffany.

A family moved by the escalating homelessness problem in Ipswich are raising money to buy a bus and turn it into a shelter for rough sleepers.

Gareth and Sarah Jane Brenland, from Holbrook, have a target of £5,000, and they are appealing for donations to help them bring the ambitious plan to life.

Anyone who gives £50 or more will get their name painted on the back of the bus as a thank you.

Mr Brenland, 40, said: “The idea is not just getting them off the streets at night, it’s also getting them to their appointments and giving them lifts if they need it.

“It’s really hard to cope with their day to day stuff. As soon as they forget one meeting people think they don’t want help.

“We want to give that little bit of extra support outside of business hours which they can’t always get, which is when they need it the most.”

The couple already run a project called Keeping Ipswich Homeless Warmer, which sees them drive to hot spots and give out clothes and refreshments to people living on the streets.

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But they were inspired to do more after hearing about a similar scheme in the Isle of Wight. A double-decker bus has been turned into a shelter for up to 16 people, with beds and washing and cooking facilities on board.

Once a bus is purchased, the conversion work will mostly be done by tradesman Mr Brenland, who has a company called GN Electrical & Property Services.

Mr Brenland said the bus would be called Tiffers, after his 15-year-old daughter, Tiffany.

The husband and wife team have never taken on venture like this before but Mr Brenland said they were “determined” to make it work.

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