Positive Community Action (PCA) are in the process of converting a double decker bus into a premises for our work to fight food poverty, loneliness and culture deprivation in the local community. Volunteers and members of the community are donating their time and skills to get the bus up and running.
We were founded at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to support local people with food and medication deliveries and now offer a range of services to those facing hardships, including food boxes, cooking community meals once a week, as well as a friendship café and community market.
Another PCA initiative, Positive Foodshare, sees our volunteers collect fresh and nutritious food from supermarkets that would otherwise go to landfill and distribute it into the heart of the community where it’s needed most. So we are saving the planet while putting food on the table.
The main aim of PCA is primarily to fight hunger and loneliness, but it obviously goes a lot deeper than that. With the cost of living crisis and the lack of access to creative amenities, many isolated rural communities become culturally deprived.
The idea for the bus came when the location of our premises became precarious during the pandemic. We had been passed from pillar to post, from our humble beginnings in a small local café then moving on to a chain of other premises which all returned to their usual uses as pandemic restrictions eased.
We started looking for our own premises but we couldn’t afford to buy a building and there did not seem to be any empty premises to rent in the centre of Pewsey. Then came the idea of a bus. A double-decker bus is big enough for everything that we need, and its mobile so we can take our HQ to you.
We did an initial search and looked for buses in the south of England and up in Manchester but nothing was the right fit. Eventually we came across a bus all the way up in Scotland. We saw this one in Scotland and we just thought, “that’s ideal!”. The bus was sitting on an airfield in Scotland and being used by the previous owners for renewable energy production. They made renewable energy from wind with kites. This bus has a panoramic roof so you can see the sky. Even better the bus was painted red and white, which is the colours of PCA – it was a perfect fit.
Some of the work that would need to be completed was already done. In May last year the bus became ours and it was driven all the way from Loch Ryan in West Scotland down to Wiltshire. Because we do not have a huge budget to convert the bus, we have been relying on local people to convert the bus into somewhere we can call home.
The bus needed a fully functioning kitchen, a climate-controlled storeroom for food as well as creative studios and office space upstairs. We’re relying on the good will and the skills of our own volunteers but also those in the wider community to turn our double-decker bus into a communications and distribution hub by the people, for the people. The renovations are really falling into place now, with the kitchen and cold store installed. Gas and electrics signed off and in place – just the solar panels and water heating systems left to do.
People are helping us in their spare time. Professional tradesmen (and women) giving us their skills, products and time for free. We also take cash donations and funds raised go straight to sourcing food along with the essential resources we need to operate, everything else is either gifted to us or done on a voluntary basis.
We recently secured a couple of grants worth £12,500 from The Prince’s Countryside Fund and The Allen Foundation to help with running costs and essential equipment. If you would like to join our community bus team or would like to partner with us, then please sign up here on our website.
WHY DO WE OWN A DOUBLE-DECKER BUS?
After being passed from pillar to post, not having any permanent premises of our own, we made the decision to buy a double-decker bus to run our services from.
WHERE DID WE GET IT FROM?
We drove her down from Scotland to her new home in Wiltshire and began the steady conversion to the new PCA HQ.
BUT WHY A BUS?
Having a home of our own, on wheels, gives us the security we need while enabling us to be mobile and reach more people in our communities.
IS THE BUS ON THE ROAD?
As we are serving meals, distributing food and essentially running a mobile food bank, we are currently converting the bus to reach strict food hygiene standards. Once the bus is fully converted we will take her into the heart of our communities and deliver the vital services from the bus.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO CONVERT?
As we are a volunteer organisation, relying on the good will, skills and spare time of our volunteers, this process has taken longer than we initially anticipated but with the recent rebrand and registration as
an official Community Interest Company, we hope to attract more professional help and funding. Catch up on our progres