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Inside the Status Quo tourbus giving hope to homeless LGBT+ people

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PinkNews recently had the chance to explore the UK’s first LGBT+ only homeless shelter which has given new life to a Status Quo tour bus.

Founder of The Outside Project Carla Ecola took PinkNews behind the scenes at the UK’s first LGBT+ only homeless shelter.

“We started back in February as a group sitting down and talking with different organisations that could offer advice and support on what we needed to do to start the shelter.

“We really got the ball rolling at Pride, promoting the project and seeing if anyone was interested in getting involved.

“The community in London really took it and ran with it and every other day we were going to a fundraiser.”

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The charity has recently been the beneficiary’s of cosmetics brand Lush’s monthly fundraisers.

Inside the Status Quo tourbus giving hope to homeless LGBT+ people
One of the many fundraisers for The Outside Project. (Photo: The Outside Project)

Ecola continued: “In the space of only a few months, we completely smashed our target which was to raise enough money to buy the bus.

“I don’t really think anyone was expecting that to happen so soon but it just took on a life of its own and had so much support from the community.”

One of the most remarkable things about the shelter is that it is almost entirely contained within the tour bus, with a lounge and kitchen area onboard.

A group of volunteers from the Outside Project travelled up to Hull in the north of England in order to collect the bus.

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The bus had previously hosted the rock band Status Quo on their tours and was most recently used in the funeral of singer and guitarist Rick Parfitt. It has now found a new purpose in the Barking and Dagenham area of East London.

Inside the Status Quo tourbus giving hope to homeless LGBT+ people
An ordinary bus with an extraordinary purpose (Photo: The Outside Project)

Tour buses can cost well over £35,000, but The Outside Project were able to find their new venue for only £8000 thanks to a generous donation from the bus’ previous owner.

The Outside Project was initially due to open next year, however an unexpectedly large wave of support from London’s LGBT+ community has meant that the shelter has now been opened.

“We just kept getting calls from allies and members of the community who had the things we needed which has meant we were able to open this winter.” Ecola said.

“We’re really proud of the community for enabling us to open far earlier than we expected and we’re proud of the volunteers. We’re always going to need more friendly happy faces, but it’s going in the right direction.”

Inside the Status Quo tourbus giving hope to homeless LGBT+ people
The shelter’s living space. (Photo: The Outside Project)

Although comprehensive statistics are difficult to collect, research from the Albert Kennedy Trust has found that a quarter of homeless youth identify as LGBT+.

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