Eastbourne family act on their past experiences to create a bus shelter for homeless people in East Sussex.
Christopher Bedford, 29, struggled with being homeless most of his life but decided he wanted to change it for the better when he established Rise and Shine Bus Shelter with his wife Claire and son Kayden.
“Everybody needs that second chance”
The total cost of the project is set to cost around £26,500 but with the growing publicity and social media engagement no doubt this will be achieved through donations.
Bedford said: “We’ve learnt in the times of homelessness ourselves and through investigating other homeless people that people become homeless at the most obscure times throughout the night when services are unavailable – so we plan to be able to have our doors open so that people can access this service and the support as and when they need it.”
After lots of fundraising within East Sussex, the Bedford family were able to purchase the bus back in November 2018.
The shelter plans to be equipped with eight beds, shower facilities, computer access, washing facilities for clothes, and a cooking area to learn basic skills for anyone who may become homeless across the whole of East Sussex.
According to Shelter.org.uk (2018), Eastbourne is ranked 19th nationwide with 1 in every 68 people being classed as homeless.
Bedford said: “Being homeless has had an impact on our project because it’s enabled us to be able to have that insight which has given us more of an understanding into what help we need to give to ensure a more positive result for that person.”
Eastsussex.gov.uk provides steps on what to do if someone does become homeless however Rise and Shine Bus Shelter are there to provides that immediate care that many need.
“The project is a constant overhead, and a constant expense and were a long way off this project’s end result.
“We need much help; we need much support and every day is a struggle I’m not going to lie. It used to be a struggle when I was worrying about trying to keep the roof over my head and fending and feeding my family but now, we’ve got the weight of this project.
“It just goes to show that the love and the compassion we’re receiving from the community to be able to make this project possible is what’s making this happen.”
“I was the homeless person in the doorway only a few years ago and this project, along with my family has helped changed my life.
“This is a dream that we are fulfilling and we’re achieving it!”
The double decker bus, which will be accessible 24 hours a day, is over halfway through construction with hope to be complete soon.
Listen to my interview with Christopher Bedford, founder of Rise and Shine Bus Shelter below: