Walker charity raising money to convert old Stagecoach bus into greenhouse

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The charity will use the bus as a community space to improve the lives of local residents.

A Walker charity is raising money to convert an old bus into a greenhouse for the mental and physical wellbeing of the local community.

Building Futures East has been home to the derelict bus for around eight years where it has sat dormant on the organisation’s riverside premises.

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However, now the charity is seeking funds to transform the dilapidated bus into a greenhouse to grow fresh produce which will be used by their gardening group and foodbank.

Dawn Emmerson, senior work coach, said: “It’s going to allow people to grow their own produce. Anything we have additional will go into our foodbank.

“So individuals who do receive food parcels can get some nutritious food, because at the minute with the cost of living crisis, with everything going up, that’s what people need.”

Dawn also helps run East End Women, a branch of Building Futures East which supports the women and children of the East End of the city through issues such as domestic abuse.

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On a Thursday, they run a women-only gardening group hoping to create a safe space for the women they support by getting them active and getting them talking.

The bus will provide an extension of this practice, which is currently contained to a polytunnel right on the riverbank.

As Dawn adds: “It’s an opportunity for the community to come together and work together. It’ll reduce social isolation for people and improve their mental and physical health.”

And there seems to be no better location for it. Nestled amongst the factories and old shipbuilding sites, it’s serene and peaceful.

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If you’ve ever walked along the edge of Hebburn Riverside Park you’ll most likely have spotted the bus and wondered what on earth it was doing there.

But Dawn has a vision. And standing there it’s easy to see for yourself. It’s the perfect site for a community space. And the top deck is the perfect place to grow tomatoes with all of the light it gets.

To strip the entire bus, get some raised beds and new seating areas, the charity is attempting to raise £8,832 in 63 days.

“We’re crowdfunding to see if the community is behind us and see if we can raise the money. As well as financial backing we’re also trying to get volunteers and organisations involved to donate time, materials and expertise,” says Dawn

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Several local artists have already been in touch, vying to help transform the bus in their style. It seems it’s the perfect canvas.

While I’m there, an engineering company donating to the foodbank offers their time to help transform the bus.

And- as I’m walking away- Dawn says she’d be happy to get me some overalls.

It’s a project from the community for the community and it’s plain it will help so many.

To help make it possible, you can donate here

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