Hello and thankyou for taking the time to read our page. The most important thing that we can ask of anybody is please please share our story far and wide. At the same time any amount you can donate even if it as small as £1 is gratefully received and vital to ensure we can continue to support the guests that need our service.
Let me tell you about who we are and why we started this.......................................
Who are we?
We are a family, which consists of Gareth, Sarah-Jane, Tiffani and we live in Holbrook.
Last November, we had noticed a sharp increase on the number of rough sleepers in Ipswich. One night while on a date night, we came across a rough sleeper outside of the restaurant we were going to, we asked the waiter inside if we could order a dinner for the rough sleeper but was told that he had no takeaway box’s. Gareth decided to go to MacDonald’s (just across the road) to get the rough sleeper some food, however when he went outside, the rough sleeper had been ‘moved on’.
A few days after this, Gareth said that he was struggling to get the rough sleeper we had seen at the restaurant out of his head, this is when we decided that we wanted to do something, as we felt there was a void somewhere. So with our daughter Tiffani in tow, we started driving around and giving out clothes and blankets, sleeping bags and hot drinks to the rough sleepers of Ipswich.
A few weeks after this, Sarah saw an article on the Isle of Wight where a double decker bus had been converted for the rough sleepers to live on, when Gareth saw the article he said ‘that’s what we are going to do’
Nearly a year on, we have given up our careers, we have a shop which sells second hand items to the general public 6 days a week, also we give clothes for free to the rough sleepers of Ipswich and to vulnerable families, we also have a double decker bus which has been converted in to a 14-bed shelter for the rough sleepers of Ipswich, the bus and shop are called Tiffers after our daughter Tiffani.
Throughout the conversion we had an overwhelming support network from the local community and many local business, KBB donated our kitchen, RFC Services donated our Log Burner, Celotex donated the insulation, Collier and Catchpole donated the ply for the bed fascias, Bathstore donated the bathroom goods and we received a grant from Screwfix for an amazing £5000
Now the conversion is done and paid for we need to continue to raise funds so we can continue to provide the support that our guests needs. Being a bus and solely run on volunteers our overheads are tiny in comparison to other organisations.
What we need to pay for (annually)
Bus Insurance including public liability £2000
Road tax £500
Fuel (bus & Generator) £1,200
Volunteer expenses (based on £10 per day) £7,300
With these basics covered we can operate from ANYWHERE !!!!!!!
Once onboard, everyone will be allocated a bed, which will remain theirs for the timethat they stay with us, after the initial couple of days settling in, they willbe required to sign up to drink and drug rehabilitation programmes from otherorganisations such as turning point, all our guest will be required to beactively trying on the rehabilitation programme.
We are having a strict no visitors rule, to prevent people from coming to the bus and trying to encourage behaviours we want our guests to leave behind.
All our safeguarding policies and data protection policies will be trained out not only to our volunteers, but to our guests too, this we feel will help our guests tounderstand it better when we tell them ‘no you can’t do that’ we also feel that it will help them to feel not just like a guest but, part of the family.
The daily motto for everyone on the bus will be ‘we can work with honesty’
As soon as guests come on to the bus we will start meaningful activities, like fixing andpainting furniture, classes on how to shabby chic, classes on plastering ,electrics, bricklaying, wallpapering, and who knows maybe even another double decker bus conversion!!!
Guests will stay on the bus for free, meaning the benefits they get are theirs to use asthey see fit, maybe saving for a bond for their own place, or driving lessons etc.
Once settled on their drink/drug rehabilitation without feeling the need to use on top, our guests will have the opportunity to volunteer their time to companies for initially 1 days work each week, this will give them some self-confidence and extra skills needed for when they move in to their own property.
Our aim is not to just find our guests a new accommodation, but instead to help them to get on to their drink/drug rehabilitation, and to start rebuilding their self-confidence and lives.
Once a guest leaves us, our support will not just end, we will continue to give daily/weekly/when needed support to ensure that the cycle of being homeless starts again. Our guests will be family, and will forever be treated as such!