VOLUNTEERS are needed to man Colchester's new homeless bus as it prepares to finally hit the road in the coming weeks.

Colchester Rough Sleepers Group is in the process of putting the finishing touches to to Chariot 180 and members expect the vehicle to be fully operational within a fortnight.

Now road legal the old 77 seater coach has electricity and cooking facilities, and will be able to take eight rough sleepers off the streets once up and running.

Project manager Vic Flores said: "We are in the last stages before we are ready to roll.

"We have got cooking facilities on board now and we have electricity so we can keep people warm and feed them.

"We even have wifi but at the moment we do not have running water as that is being sorted now.

"Things are moving very quickly and we should be ready to launching within a fortnight."

Chariot 180 will be on the streets thanks in part to an anonymous benefactor who donated £25,000 to buy, fit out and insure the bus.

More generous benefactors have donated items like televisions and cleaning appliances over the past few weeks and some rough sleepers have even been chipping in with painting and decorating the coach.

Although most of the facilities on the bus itself are sorted, the group are desperately searching for volunteers who are willing to give up their time to help man the vehicle once it is in operation.

Mr Flores said: "Really we need a pool of around 30 people who are prepared to stay at times and help out on the bus.

"We are desperately short of volunteers and we need people who are willing to do a little bit of training and then would be able to spend some time on the bus, some during the day and some during the night.

Colchester Rough Sleepers Group have been working on Chariot 180 for more than a year and Mr Flores said it was incredible to be within touching distance of the finishing line.

He said: "The project is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

"I was a television producer, cameraman and I am now a councillor but this is amazing."

He added: "It will be great to see it finally on the road."