AN arts centre is bidding for up to £25,000 to transform an old double-decker bus into a mobile activity centre.

Anthony Roberts, director at Colchester Arts Centre, has applied to the Aviva Community Fund to renovate an old London Routemaster bus.

The whimsical bus is already owned by the arts centre, but Anthony wants to give it a new lease of life so it can be taken on the road to support vulnerable and deprived communities.

It will be named The Magic Community Bus.

Once complete, if funding is granted, the bus will provide memory afternoons, arts and craft workshops for children, film screening, talks, information points and mentoring for community groups.

Mr Roberts said: “Our bus will journey into the places where no provision exists, it will transform lives, it will offer a voice to the unheard, it will be both a physical vehicle on the streets and a vehicle for change in the lives of the disadvantaged.

“We run an inclusive programme of events and all are fully inclusive for people both non-disabled and disabled.

“However, there are large numbers of people who we cannot reach and this might be for any number of reasons.

“It may be they simply live too far away to make it easy for them to get here, or they don’t have the care support or sufficient funding.”

His radical proposal will hopefully be the answer to this problem.

Anthony said: “People can be isolated geographically, as in they live in remote villages with only the village shop.

“But people can also be isolated within their communities through barriers of age, disability, culture and identity or other taboos and stigmas that make them vulnerable.”

“It is difficult to quantify the need for this work. What we can say is every community has vulnerable people.”

However, the bus has been vandalised and up to £25,000 is needed for the long-term project.

Anthony added: “This isn’t a vague open ended wish list, but a hard-nosed, clearly priced cohesive and strategic project.

“The bus is structurally in good nick and capable of being fully operational quite quickly. We have all the jobs priced up.

“This is a ten year project. Our conservative estimate is once fully operational the Aviva Magic Bus could be reaching more than 100 people per week for six months of the year. “

“We have an army of over 40 regular volunteers at the arts centre, all keen to sweep, polish clean and sometimes even to drive our beautiful bus.”

To vote visit and search for The Magic Community Bus. Voting ends on November 20.