Operators of Portsmouth homeless bus hit back at claims they left it in '˜disgusting state'

THE organisation running a homeless shelter from a double-decker bus in Portsmouth have hit back at claims they left it in a '˜disgusting state' '“ but has admitted it is giving up on the project.

Saturday, 18th August 2018, 2:37 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 10:09 pm
Operators of the homeless bus have hit back at claims against them.

The Robert Dolling Project, based at St Agatha's Church in the city centre, has strongly denied comments that claimed items had been stolen from the bus, furnishings had been wrecked and it was handed back to Stagecoach covered in rubbish and mess.

It comes as Joanne Vines and Sammy Barcroft, who launched the project last year to turn the donated vehicle into somewhere homeless people could spend the night, wrote on Facebook about the state of the bus.

The Robert Dolling Project, who took over running it last November, has handed the bus back to Stagecoach.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In response to Joanne and Sammy's comment, they posted on Facebook: 'A number of comments have been made on social media relating to the bus which are completely untrue.

'˜Sammy and Joanne have been regularly and fully briefed regarding the physical state of the bus and the problems associated with it, including the series of break-ins.

'˜They are aware the £1,200 that they handed over to us remains unspent and ready to hand to the next operator along with mattresses and other items removed to prevent theft.

'˜Sammy and Jo have been invited to meet with us on several occasions but have always declined. They were also aware that an alternative operator was being sought.

'˜The bus has been cleaned on a number of occasions since the major clean-up following the first break-in. However, despite attempts to make it secure, people continued to gain access and cause mess and damage.'

In their Facebook post written last night, Sammy and Joanne said Stagecoach had refused to clean the bus after soiled toilet paper, rubbish, dirty clothes and other items were left strewn across the floor.

They also claimed a number of items including the microwave, kettle and tank from under the kitchen sink were missing.

The Robert Dolling Project's statement added: '˜We asked for time to do a clean-up before the bus was removed but Stagecoach were absolutely clear that was not necessary and said they were fully equipped to do so themselves back at their depot.

'˜We are currently trying to contact Stagecoach to find out if their position has changed and if it has, we will happily go and clean the bus.

'˜We would never consider passing the bus to a future operator without making sure that it is clean and equipped with the appropriate items to make sure that it has every chance of future success, to ensure that the work of Sammy and Jo can be carried forward and the efforts of the community are not wasted.'