A band tour bus has been given a new lease of life as the UK’s first homeless shelter for LGBT people.
Charity ‘The Outside Project‘ has renovated a bus first used by the band Status Quo to become London’s newest homeless shelter.
The bus is based in the Barking and Dagenham area of east London and has facilities to host twelve people.
Volunteer Carla Ecola told the Barking and Dagenham Post: “We’re so excited about this project…We’re proud to be located here in east London.”
The charity was founded a few months ago by a group of LGBT+ activists and outreach workers.
A group of volunteers travelled up to Hull in the north of England in order to collect the bus, most recently used in the funeral of Status Quo singer and guitarist Rick Parfitt.
Research from the Albert Kennedy trust has found that a quarter of young homeless people identify as LGBT+, and that LGBT+ people have specific needs when involved with social care programmes.
The location of the bus will not be advertised due to fear of potential attacks.
Users will be referred to the service from other homelessness charities.
A fundraising campaign for the project began at this year’s Pride in London which raised £11,500.
The Outside Project is continuing to fundraise in an effort to extend the opening times of the shelter.
This month, the project will be the beneficiaries of proceeds from cosmetic brand Lush’s ‘charity pot.’
The shelter will be open for two months initially, with a hope to expand the service to a six-month term.
Volunteers hope to eventually have the shelter open for the whole year.
Carla Ecola said: “This is definitely something the community needs all year round.”