AN SOS Bus project in Tendring has been named as the regional winner of a Parliamentary health award.

The Shells (Shelter and Health Enlisting Local Support) SOS Bus offers help to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, as well as street drinkers or drug users in need of guidance and signposting with issues including housing, domestic abuse, debt and mental health.

Piloted at the end of 2020 in Clacton and successfully extended to Harwich, in its first year the service helped more than 650 people.

It was nominated by Clacton MP Giles Watling MP for the Health Equalities Award at the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2022.

As a regional winner it has now been shortlisted for a national award.

Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of the NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Those affected by homelessness or who are living with drug and alcohol issues represent some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

“They can find it especially challenging to access.

“The bus is a fantastic example of our local organisations working together, and I’m especially proud that Tendring is leading the way on coming up with great ideas that are making a big difference to people’s lives.”