Church Army Captain Alan Park founded Church on the Bus in 2004. This is its history.
When Alan arrived in Chesterfield in 2000 he saw that there wasn’t much being done for the homeless. Some projects existed giving out food and clothes, but he felt that we needed more human interaction. So our plan was to go out and build relationships with people who live in rubbish skips, sheds and woods.
With the help of Churches from the Chesterfield area we made our first journey on our first double-decker Bus in 2004, getting 25 to 30 people regularly and getting more after a while.
We then got two single-decker Buses with the aim of visiting Matlock as well. The video below shows the opening of the Matlock Bus.
In 2016 we decided that the cost of keeping two buses on the road was prohibitive, and that the Chesterfield bus would serve both Chesterfield and Matlock.
This is a picture of our current bus whilst on the Whit Walk in 2016. Alan is trying to hide behind the bus door because he doesn’t like having his photo taken!
The year 2016 was a time of immense change for the Church on the Bus project. Church Army support for a full-time evangelist came to an end in 2016. However Captain Alan Park continued to work for the project on a part-time self-employed basis as an interim measure. His contract ended in December 2016 and Alan left us – with our thanks, prayers and good wishes for the future.
Our charity made some structural changes and we re-launched Church on the Bus on 8th January 2017 on a new, volunteer-led basis. The Bus has gone on to serve over 25 homeless and needy people each evening in Chesterfield.
We are intensifying our efforts to work with other Christian organisations in the town who work with the homeless and needy so as to determine how our work might complement theirs and what our unique mission should be.