A HOMELESS bus which was funded by £50,000 of charitable donations has helped rough sleepers 60 times since it hit the roads.

But charity bosses say they are looking at using the bus in a “different way” after a number of volunteers left.

Colchester Rough Sleepers Group managed to raise the money to fund the converted double decker, with one mystery donor stumping up £25,000.

The Chariot 180 was made roadworthy by a 12-strong team of volunteers.

But after project manager Vic Flores stepped away from the charity, the original team has been reduced to three volunteer trustees.

Trustee Mike Clark said: “We have three people left on a full-time basis.

“We still have everything we need to go forward.

“The bus works, but not in the way we thought initially when we started out.

“In total to date we have had 60 nights’ sleep on the bus, but it is harder then we thought to teach the volunteers the issues around rough sleepers.

“In reality we are often dealing with a chaotic person, or often people who are entering a completely new environment.

“Sometimes people don’t want to get help.

“We will still use it to support people but we are looking at using it in a different way.”

The charity had joined forces with the Flying Trade Group to run the Claudius Gateway café, opposite Colchester Castle.

Half of the funds generated were used to support rough sleepers, but the charity has had to step away from managing the café on a voluntary basis.

Mr Clark said: “It is possible we grew too quickly and grew too big too quickly.

“We are doing all the administration and co-ordinating and it is very hard.

“We had grand ideas about how we were going to work but in reality it is difficult.

“We have had successes but if a homeless person gets help it is down to lots of different people acting together, so I am hesitant for us to take all the credit.”

The group registered with the Charity Commission in November last year and is due to submit its annual finance report.

A spokesman said: “A full audit of the charity is underway at present, as is normal before an

annual report, for full transparency.”