All members of staff at King’s are given three days per year – Service Time – to spend on activities that serve society, including volunteering or charity work.
Staff at King’s Venues and King’s Food, the in-house teams coordinating the university’s event bookings and catering, used their Service Time to help the charity Buses4Homeless transform four decommissioned London buses, donated by Stagecoach, into eating, sleeping, learning and wellbeing spaces to help break the cycle of homelessness.
Each bus had been left stationary in depots across London and would have eventually been scrapped. The King’s team breathed new life into the buses by painting, reupholstering seat covers, cleaning fixtures and choosing colour schemes and furnishings.
Dan Atkins, Founder of Buses4Homeless, said, ‘By collaborating and tapping into the energy and expertise of partners, such as King’s, we can make a real and lasting difference to thousands of homeless people across the capital.’
The renovated buses, which are permanently based on a site provided by Costain Skanska JV in North Acton, are a cost-effective and time-efficient solution to tackle homelessness. Through a three-month all-inclusive live on-board development programme, the charity aims to transition individuals in London’s homeless communities from living on the streets or relying on night shelters to more permanent housing solutions.
Residents are not only provided with a safe place to stay but also receive training and support to help them develop new skills so they can secure apprenticeships, further training and eventually paid work. Some residents have used their new skills to help transform the buses, with homeless contributors working as upholsterers, floor fitters and carpenters alongside volunteers.