March 8 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Homeless and lonely people in Norwich this festive season are being invited on board a special London double-decker bus where they can meet others and enjoy a cuppa.
The maroon bus was bought a year ago by Neil Cranston, a businessman and philanthropist who lives near Wymondham.
It has a cafe/open space on the top deck, with a marquee to cover it in case of bad weather, a kitchen, bedroom, three toilets, a shower and living room.
The bus was parked at St Stephen’s Church near Chapelfield shopping centre yesterday, will be at Fitt Signs in Pitt Street today and then back at the church on Sunday morning.
Invitations to visit the bus have been sent to people in the community who might not have anyone to be with this season.
Mr Cranston, who has been working with Adam Jackson, a youth worker at St Stephen’s, and Carrie Sant, who helps lonely people in need, said: “I give the bus to people for charity events. I have seen the homeless people in London and elsewhere and wanted to do something for the homeless and lonely in Norwich this Christmas.
“Our difficulty now is finding people who are happy to acknowledge that they might be a bit lonely and, therefore, come out to visit us.”
One of the beneficiaries of the bus yesterday was Mick Shelton, who is homeless and has just arrived in Norwich.
He has been sleeping rough in graveyards, shop doorways, and at the bandstand at Chapelfield Gardens.
He said: “The bus means that today I have been able to have a conversation with people, sit down and relax, and enjoy something to eat and drink. The day before I was sitting outside the Forum reading a book, on my own, did not speak to anyone, and was told to move.”
He said he had moved to Norwich as he had heard that there was a possible building job.
Are upi helping the homeless and lonely this festive season? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email firstname.lastname@example.org