New bus for the homeless project near Barnstaple needs skilled trades and companies to help get it up and running

Inside the bus for the Bus Shelter North Devon project. All the seats will be removed and the bus will be converted into a sleeping and living area for homeless people. Picture: Tony GussinInside the bus for the Bus Shelter North Devon project. All the seats will be removed and the bus will be converted into a sleeping and living area for homeless people. Picture: Tony Gussin

A new bus to help get homeless people off the street has arrived but volunteers need lots of help to get it underway.

A donated double decker bus for the Bus Shelter North Devon Project now has a home on land near Barnstaple.

The project set up by Survival Bags Home and Away will aim to provide accommodation and support for the homeless to try and get them off the streets for good.

The group needs a lot of assistance to convert the bus and has issued an appeal for tradespeople and companies that might be willing to help.

Inside the bus for the Bus Shelter North Devon project. All the seats will be removed and the bus will be converted into a sleeping and living area for homeless people. Picture: Tony GussinInside the bus for the Bus Shelter North Devon project. All the seats will be removed and the bus will be converted into a sleeping and living area for homeless people. Picture: Tony Gussin

Bus manager Ian Godfrey said as the project went on they would need a number of different trades to convert the bus with up to 16 sleeping pods, including emergency beds, as well as a kitchen, toilet and shower plus a seating area.

He said: "Now we need skilled and semi-skilled volunteers, including someone who understands the electronics in a vehicle like this and we need solar panels. It would be nice if we could get them donated, but if we buy them we need someone to install them."

The group also needs help from a scaffolding company so it can work on the outside of the bus, plus carpenters and someone who could fit insulation.

A plumber will be needed to install a shower unit and Ian said ideally someone who has worked with caravans, as it will essentially be a giant motor home.

A fitted kitchen, cooker, separate wood burner and someone to install them will also be needed, plus someone to carry out minor bodywork on the exterior.

All those who help or make a donation will get their names or company names on the bus and it is hoped to complete the project by winter.

The project is based on others around the country. Homeless people who use the service would sign up for at least a week and have to actively engage with the support offered, with no alcohol or drugs allowed.

Survival Bags was set up by Kiz Angell and Vicki Benson and Kiz said the homeless people they were working with were keen to work on the bus project to help convert it.

She added: "We have a lot of support for the bus. We have been waiting since Easter so we are really glad it's finally here and we can start work on it."

Anyone who can help is asked to call Kiz on 07506 655041 or message the Survival Bags - Home and Away or Bus Shelter North Devon Facebook pages.