An innovative local charity called The Bus Shelter MK has been launched to help tackle Milton Keynes’ homelessness.
The Bus Shelter MK, delivered in partnership with intu Milton Keynes, is the brainchild of Thomas Davis, who has experienced homelessness himself and is now ‘determined to provide homeless people with a route off the street and into a new life’. The Bus Shelter concept originated in the Isle of Wight, and proved to be a huge success and so Thomas hopes to replicate that success in Milton Keynes.
The charity has already raised £10,000 to purchase a former band bus, which has taken support crews for stars like Robbie Williams and Rod Stewart on tours across Europe. The Bus Shelter MK must now find an additional £20,000 to complete the project and welcome their first residents.
The bus will provide a warm and safe place for people to sleep that will be open every day of the year. A separate bathroom and laundry unit will be parked alongside and residents will be given a mailing address so they can access medical services, apply for work etc.
The Bus Shelter MK will be manned 24/7 with people willing to offer a “listening ear” so issues can be discussed and help will be given to find more permanent housing. Assistance to find employment and opportunities for personal development will be offered. “Sleep is just the beginning,” says Thomas Davis.
“All that many homeless people want is a chance to turn their life around and build a better future. It’s hard to find a job when you don’t have the right advice, professional support or even a postal address – the Bus Shelter MK will provide all of this.”
All this costs money and The Bus Shelter MK is appealing to local people and businesses to give whatever they can to help raise the essential funds. People can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/thebusshelter-mk
Shelley Peppard, general manager at intu Milton Keynes said: “We are putting together a programme of events in the centre to help raise funds for The Bus Shelter MK but we really need the support of our Milton Keynes community to help get this project off the ground. There is a growing concern regarding homelessness in Milton Keynes and this is a fantastic initiative that will tackle the issue head on and most importantly, give people a brighter future.”
Supporters of The Bus Shelter include: CMK Street Wardens; The Milton Keynes Citizen; MKFM; Business World Services; Bill’s Coach Hire; Total Tyre Solutions; Mail Boxes etc; MKC ward councillors Nigel Long, Paul Williams and Sally Kempster and MP for Milton Keynes North, Mark Lancaster.
Last year, three homeless people tragically died while sleeping on the streets. With the funding, The Bus Shelter will provide year-round temporary shelter for up to 16 people at a time – it will also provide accommodation for rough sleepers’ pet dogs when necessary.