A DOUBLE-DECKER sleep bus for the homeless is being renovated in Harwich, thanks to the help of a grant.

Colchester Rough Sleepers Group is in the process of putting the finishing touches to Chariot 180 which is being revamped from the inside out next to Trinity House.

The 77 seater coach now has electricity and cooking facilities, and will be able to take eight rough sleepers off the streets once up and running.

Vic Flores, project manager of Colchester Rough Sleepers Group, said: “In light of the significant increase in rough sleeping on the streets of North Essex in 2018, Colchester Rough Sleepers Group was formed to work with, and as an additional resource, to existing agencies and voluntary groups that provide support and intervention.

"Our first project was to renovate a double-decker bus into temporary housing."

He said work is nearly complete thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and support from funding.

He added: "Once up and running it will feature sleeping pods for eight guests, a bathroom with a shower, cooking facilities and a lounge area.

"Guests will be fully supported with a view to moving them into permanent housing and sustainable employment."

Mersea Homes Charitable Fund has given £2,000 of funding towards the sleep bus.

Stuart Cock, managing director of Mersea Homes, said: "Being a local family run business we are committed to supporting charities and community projects close to home. "Our business is about housing, so we have a particular interest in the issue of homelessness.

"We wanted to do something to help keep people off the streets and have just given £2,000 from our fund towards a new sleep bus project."

Mr Cock added: "The grants distributed through our fund make such a difference in the area where we work."

For more information visit essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk.

Organisations in need of funding are encouraged to call the Essex Community Funding grants team on 01245 356018.