UB40's old tour bus gets new lease of life as mobile community centre in Torquay

  • Report by Bob Cruwys

A community group in Torquay is giving new life to an old tour bus which used to belong to reggae and pop band UB40.

Volunteers from RE4orm are converting the bus into a mobile community centre, to help fight poverty in some of the hardest to reach parts of Torbay. 

When it is finished, it will go out on the road to offer budgeting and parenting advice - as well as things like cookery lessons and books for children.

The aim is to support the most vulnerable and raise aspirations in the community.

These comfy sofas will make way for a working kitchen. Credit: ITV West Country

The double decker's downstairs will be transformed into a working kitchen so that families can learn how to cook healthy food on a budget.

Katie Cavanna, the founder of RE4orm Torbay says: "As lovely as these sofas are they will be removed. We've got a little kitchen area here and a meeting area but what we want to do is take out a lot of the stuff that's here already and then make this into a working kitchen."

There's so much potential with this bus and that's why we decided to take it. We can really turn it into something pretty magical for the community as well.

Katie Cavanna, Founder, RE4orm Torbay

The group bought the bus in February with help from National Lottery funding but had to put plans to renovate it on hold when Covid-19 struck.

Now, they are looking for helpers to make the transformation happen.

Katie says: "Already we've had lots of offers of support but we'd like more. We need plumbers, we need electricians, we need carpenters.

"We need people who are good with paintbrushes. We know how many talented artists there are.

"We know how many talented tradespeople there are so why don't we all come together and do something positive for our community? This is an amazing example of how you can do that."

Upstairs these sleeping quarters will be ripped out and replaced with library shelves and a sensory area. Credit: ITV West Country

Katie wants to create a private meeting downstairs so that people can get support and advice in confidence.

Upstairs, the rows of bunk beds where the band and crew used to sleep will be replaced by a library and sensory area.

What we want to do is go out and engage with the community in Torbay and help alleviate poverty and raise aspirations for all.

Katie Cavanna, RE4orm Torbay

It is hoped the bus will be able to help families in the communities of Torbay which are hardest to reach.

To find out more about RE4orm Torbay and how to offer your skills, click here.

What was once home to UB40 while on tour has a bright future ahead. Credit: PA

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