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Buses for Ukraine

How on earth did a small Swindon based NGO come to convert a single decker bus into a mobile medical facility and proudly hand it over to His Excellency Vadym Prystaiko,The Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK, at an event attended by senior Parliamentarians outside the Palace of Westminster? 

Handing over the medical bus at Westminster
Crossing the channel in a bendy bus
SHAP bus makes the newpapers
Handing over our medical bus to Ukrainian Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko

It all started in a bar where our Chair , Mike Bowden, was meeting Heidi Alexander, the prospective Labour Party candidate for Swindon South. Knowing Heidi was a non executive director at Transport for London (TFL). Emboldened by a second glass of wine Mike asked if she had any contacts that might be prepared to donate a bus. Fortunately Heidi knew Leon Daniels, who is a former MD at TFL and knows everyone who’s anyone in the bus sector.
Long story short -Leon managed to find us a bus from Swindon’s Bus Company, part of the Go Ahead Group and was kind enough to drive said bus to a Unit in Swindon, kindly provided by Dawson Group .

The transformation of the bus was miraculous - the lead volunteers being Arend and Anatoliy - who set about removing 40 odd seats, installing lights, water, a toilet and 2 hospital beds with associated medical paraphernalia. A truly astonishing piece of work. Other volunteers were responsible to sourcing all the equipment for the bus - virtually all at zero cost.  Colleagues from HUGS, Southampton hospital, and the tireless volunteers from SHAP made it happen.
BBC and ITV crews and local media covered the story and on the 22nd of May 2023 our Chair Mike Bowden proudly handed ownership of the bus to Ambassador Prystaiko, for use in Ukraine.
The videos and photos above show the story of the bus’s conversion.
The bus is still doing sterling service and saving lives in Eastern Ukraine.

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