Maidenhead Synagogue has acquired a purple double-decker bus – not dissimilar to the ‘night bus’ in the Harry Potter novels – which will live in its car park and be a source of both refuge and hope for homeless people in the area.
The bus has been converted into a mobile hostel, with the seating taken out and twelve beds installed upstairs, while there is a kitchen, desk and bathroom downstairs.
The most important part of the bus is the desk, as it will be used as a first step to help those who have fallen on hard times obtain employment and proper accommodation, with a warden on board, both to supervise and to give advice.
The bus is fully roadworthy, and in the evenings will drive to Maidenhead town centre to pick up passengers for the night.
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain has spear-headed the project with other local groups and said: “Many of the homeless are people who had jobs and homes until recently, but whose lives have now spiralled out of control and into the streets. The bus is part of Maidenhead Synagogue’s involvement in the wider community, and represents our commitment to social action”.
Synagogue members are becoming involved as drivers, donating items for use inside the bus and fund-raising to pay for a warden who will supervise the bus and give advice to those using it.