The UK's first mobile shower unit for homeless people has been unveiled in Bournemouth.
'The Shower Machine' will enable people who sleep rough to have a hot soak while their clothes are washed by charity Hope For Food's mobile laundry service, 'The Clean Machine'.
The shower is contained within a van and is powered by gas, with enough energy for eight three-minute showers, or one 26-minute shower - though presumably this won't be allowed.
The van also contains dressing gowns, slippers and fresh clothes for people to use post-shower as they wait for their clothes to dry in the Clean Machine, which also contains a microwave and a kettle.
'The Shower Machine' will enable homeless people to wash while they clean their clothes. Credit: Bournemouth Echo
The founder of Hope For Food, Claire Matthews, had the idea following a conversation with a homeless person about their services.
According to the Bournemouth Echo, she said: "I thought about the Clean Machine and one guy said to me, 'I've got clean clothes but I'm still dirty, what do I do now?' So I thought, 'We need a shower.'
"I know there are other showers in Bournemouth but they don't like walking too far. So, the concept is, while they're washing their clothes, they can have a shower."
The shower unit is the first of its kind in the country. Credit: Bournemouth Echo
But having a nice idea is one thing, and making it a reality is another. The Shower Machine was only possible thanks to a generous donation from John B Windsor-Pleydell, who heard about the charity's work and was keen to support the idea.
Sadly, he died before it was launched, but a tribute is paid to the man on the livery of the van.
The charity, which was founded in 2012, will provide more than 700 hampers to families living in poverty over the Christmas period - which is twice as many as last year.
Earlier in December, Hope For Food also served a record 100 homeless people Christmas dinner.
But Hope For Food schools and community liaison officer, Sam Langdown, doesn't think the increasing numbers of service users should be cause for alarm.
According to the Bournemouth Echo, he said: "I believe it's not all numbers growing, it can't be, it's people knowing about us. We're widening the people that we reach."
Research by homeless charity Crisis indicates 24,000 people in Britain will have spent the festive period sleeping rough.
Featured Image Credit: Bournemouth Echo