MKDP agrees first stage of ‘caring and sharing’ plan to provide all-year-round help for the homeless

Milton Keynes former bus station which is Grade II listed. It has appeared in Historic England's list of 20 unusual places to be listed in the past year. PNL-150617-174339001
Milton Keynes former bus station which is Grade II listed. It has appeared in Historic England's list of 20 unusual places to be listed in the past year. PNL-150617-174339001

MKDP, the cash-generating arm of the council, this week voted to consider the possibility of the empty Buszy building to be used all year round by the Winter Night Shelter project.

For good measure it has thrown the spacious building open to four other community causes too.

The highly marketable Buszy, a former bus station right opposite CMK station, occupies a prime plot at the gateway to Milton Keynes.

MKDP received a string of bids from companies and organisations interesting in taking over the listed building.

They whittled them down to five good causes – and then chose to pursue all five.

Council leader Pete Marland, an MKDP board member, said: “We looked at all the bids and I’m hopeful we can find a solution that benefits as many groups as possible.”

The night shelter team already runs a successful winter-only project inMK. Their bid, backed by 30 charities, involves running a permanent cafe and one-stop help centre for homeless people to drop into during the day. At night the team buses people out to various community venues.

Sharing the building could be St Mark’s Community Church, NM Records recording studio for rehabilitating young offenders, and Secklow Sounds community radio station. It will also be a base for the popular JustDance Academy, which offers wheelchair and disabled dancing tuition.

Lockers would open at the new Buszy homeless centre at 8am for people living on the street to store their possessions safely and securely.

The building would prove an ideal drop-off point for people wanting to donate clothes and other items to help homeless people. Men’s clothing will be particularly welcome.

The volunteer-run Winter Night Shelter opens this year on December 1 and will run until March, providing shelter for 15 homeless people.

With the full time use of the Buszy they aim to expand each year. By 2018 they hope to make almost 7,000 bed nights available every year.

Charles Macdonald, chief executive of MKDP said: “We received some very interesting proposals from community, charity and commercial organisations. MKDP;s board has agreed that we should talk to those that provide sustainable and financially viable offers to determine whether the Old Bus Station could provide a base where a number of them could work alongside each other . While there is still much to be done, we are really enthusiastic about the potential the building offers.”