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Status Quo tour bus reborn in Barking and Dagenham as UK’s first LGBT+ homeless shelter

PUBLISHED: 09:50 13 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:39 13 November 2017

Status Quo's old tour bus will become the UK's first LGBT+ homeless shelter. Gonzo, Carla Ecola and centre manager Chris Downham.

Status Quo's old tour bus will become the UK's first LGBT+ homeless shelter. Gonzo, Carla Ecola and centre manager Chris Downham.

Archant

An old Status Quo tour bus is being reborn as the UK’s first LGBT+ homeless shelter.

Status Quo's old tour bus will become the UK's first LGBT+ homeless shelter. Gonzo, Carla Ecola and centre manager Chris Downham.Status Quo's old tour bus will become the UK's first LGBT+ homeless shelter. Gonzo, Carla Ecola and centre manager Chris Downham.

The bus, which will be based in the borough, will be the UK’s first LGBT+ homeless shelter.

A quarter of young homeless people identify as LGBT+, according to research by the Albert Kennedy Trust.

LGBT+ people face an increased risk of domestic abuse, sexual violence and addiction.

The bus, which has twelve beds, is also fitted with sofas, a TV and even an Xbox. The volunteers hope it can provide a comfortable environment for people at a difficult point in their lives.

Carla and a group of volunteers went all the way to Hull to buy the bus from an events company.

“The bus is really nice - we’re so excited about this project,” said volunteer Carla Ecola.

“We’re proud to be located here in east London,” she added.

She says the reason The Outside Project chose to set up in Barking and Dagenham is because the charity have a good relationship with other charities that already operate here. The council were also “really welcoming” and keen to do more to help the LGBT+ community, she says.

With hate crime on the rise, the exact location of the bus will not be disclosed. Other homeless charities will refer people they think will benefit from the service and they will be invited to stay.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched at this year’s London Pride, which saw The Outside Project raise £11,500.

The group are continuing to try and raise funds for the project - and this month will be the beneficiaries of Lush’s Oxford Street charity pots.

The charity was set up a few months ago by a group of friends and colleagues who work in the homelessness sector.

The shelter will be open for an initial two month period, meaning they will be open over Christmas when lots of shelters close.

But the volunteers hope to be able to sustain the service for six months. Their long term plan is to be open all year round.

“This is definitely something the community needs all year round,” said Carla.

The charity are also organising solidarity marches sleep-outs to raise awareness about their cause, as well as money to support the shelter.

The bus was used by Status Quo’s band members for Rick Parfitt’s funeral in January.

You can donate here.

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