You think it's cold now, but winter's not officially due to start for another three and a half weeks. Basically, we've not even seen the half of it, and while that's scary for any of us, imagine squaring up to the winter chill if you lived on the streets.

Homelessness is a massive issue here in the UK, which is why Sammy Barcroft and Joanne Vines from The Rucksack Project - which collects rucksacks full of essentials for the homeless - decided to think outside the box... or inside a bus, if you will.

Bus

Credit: pictureexclusive.com

"Someone suggested to me in 2016, 'Why don't you get a bus and convert it into a homeless shelter?'" Joanne says.

"I thought about it and thought about it. In January I put a plea out on social media saying, 'Would anyone like to offer me a bus?' and I got three offers!"

One of those offers was from Stagecoach, which had a 20-year-old, 72-seater Volvo Olympian double decker, complete with MOT, going spare - originally earmarked for scrap.

Joanne then parked it up and set about making it inhabitable.

"I parked it up in Fareham near me, and then put out a plea like DIY SOS to fit a kitchen, bunk beds, etc.," she says.

Bus

Credit: pictureexclusive.com

Bus

Credit: pictureexclusive.com

The SOS signal was received, with a college in Portsmouth offering to make the bunk beds as part of a woodwork project, and a local housing association donating the whole kitchen. Other favours also came from an electrician, a plumber and Gosport Men's Shed, who helped fix the interior of the bus, fitting cupboards and sorting general DIY jobs.

Bus

Credit: pictureexclusive.com

In the end, the project took eight months to complete - two less than Joanne had envisaged. The entire build was worth around £25,000 ($33,000), but miraculously Joanne and Sammy were savvy and only spent about £6,000 ($8,000), all raised through crowdfunding or donations.

The combined effort of 70 to 80 volunteers now has a total of 12 bunk beds, as well as a kitchen, toilet and shower.

Bus

Credit: pictureexclusive.com

The bus is now stationed at St Agatha's Church in Portsmouth, which Joanne describes as a 'community town' that has always shown support for the Rucksack Project.

The local church which will be running it as a shelter as part of the Robert Dolling Project, an initiative aimed at helping homeless people in the area.

"I'm delighted it's finished and it's staying in Portsmoth," Joanne says. "But I'm also happy to have a rest."

We're not surprised - someone get these guys a medal... and a brew!

Featured Image Credit: pictureexclusive.com

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist at LADbible. Jess graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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