A HOMELESS charity can now get an old ice cream van and money making plan on the road.

The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope charity fundraises to help the homeless in Leicester. Through its ‘The Bridge to Hope’ social enterprise, the charity did up an old milk float, donated by Kirby and West, and converted it into a funky coffee wagon called Ernie. They now want to do the same with a former ice-cream van, to be called Eric, which was also donated by the dairy.

The £13,000 from Star Trust will help The Bridge to Hope volunteers realise their dream – to provide another vehicle to provide food and drink on the go, as well as hire out both wagons for events to raise more money for the cause.

James Bentley of the Star Trust said: “We are delighted to be able to approve this funding to The Bridge to Hope. They are an incredible charity and we want people to recognise the work they do in the community.

“We have high hopes for the former ice cream van – which this money will help transform into a fully functioning coffee and food vehicle not only serving people in and around Leicester but also will be rented out for events The two vans will enable the charity to generate its own income and will provide some of the service users valuable work experience.”

Keith Lawson-West, trustee of The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope, said: “We are profoundly grateful for the generous support from the Star Trust. Our The Bridge to Hope social enterprise has generated much needed funds for the charity and this new funding will enable us to fulfil our goal of extending our fleet of wagons to bring our ‘Hope in a Cup’ to a wider audience around Leicester.”

The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope was set up in 2009 to support homeless people living rough in Leicester. In that time, the charity has grown and now delivers a number of specialist services. The charity works to get people off the street as well as support them with their mental and physical health, giving them the confidence and support they need to find a job and build a better life.

The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope also offers a mentoring programme. This is aimed to match those most in need of help and support with trained mentors from the charity. As part of the programme, The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope ensures a weekly meeting to try and help its patients get their lives on back on track.

Charlotte Menhennet, sales manager from Answer-4u, and James Bentley handed over the donation to the charity from Star Trust and got the chance to see Eric and Ernie for themselves.

Charlotte said: “It is fantastic to see what The Bridge to Hope does and how many people it is helping in Leicester. There are some incredible volunteers and homeless people are benefiting from their efforts. The Star Trust is delighted to support them.”